Canned Asparagus Vs. Fresh (Which is Best)

Vegetables like asparagus have a limited growing season, so they are not always available unless imported from other countries.

One way around this problem is by using canned or jarred asparagus, which is available on our grocery store shelves all year round but is it as good as fresh asparagus?

In this article, I’ll be comparing the nutritional data of each kind of asparagus to find out which type is healthier and comparing how it can be used and the difference in flavor and texture.

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Canned Asparagus Vs. Fresh Nutritional Comparison

Starting with the nutritional comparison and to keep things fair and accurate, I’ll be comparing the two kinds of asparagus weight-for-weight per 100g.

The nutritional data source I’m using is the USDA FoodData Central for generic canned asparagus that is drained of all liquid and fresh raw asparagus.

Calorie Comparison

When vegetables are canned and cooked, there’s often a slight difference between the calorific values between the canned version and a fresh vegetable.

With canned asparagus, there is a slight calorie reduction of 1kcal per 100g compared to fresh asparagus. The difference is a nominal amount, and both kinds of asparagus are very low in calories.

Asparagus TypeCalories Per 100g
Canned Asparagus19kcal
Fresh Asparagus20kcal

Nutritional Comparison

It’s normal to see a reduction of naturally occurring nutrients in vegetables that have been canned or jarred because they’re generally pre-cooked and stored in water.

Canned asparagus is slightly lower in carbohydrates, natural sugars, and dietary fiber; however, the differences are minimal.

Nutrition TypeCanned AsparagusFresh Asparagus
Carbohydrates2.46g3.88g
of Which are Sugars1.06g1.88g
Dietary Fiber1.6g2.1g
Fat0.65g0.12g
of Which is Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Cholesterol
Protein2.14g2.2g

Vitamins & Minerals Comparison

When comparing the main vitamins and minerals found in canned and fresh asparagus, fresh asparagus contains higher amounts of most micronutrients, although they are very similar in some categories.

Although canned asparagus is still a healthy option containing a range of vitamins and minerals, fresh is a better option which is high in vitamin C and potassium.

The table below shows the official USDA data for each kind of asparagus so you can compare them side-by-side:

Vitamin/Mineral TypeCanned Asparagus – Amount Per 100gFresh Asparagus – Amount Per 100g
Calcium16mg24mg
Iron1.83mg2.14mg
Phosphorus43mg52mg
Potassium172mg202mg
Magnesium10mg14mg
Thiamin0.061mg0.143mg
Riboflavin0.1mg0.141mg
Vitamin B60.11mg0.091mg
Vitamin C18.4mg31.8mg
Vitamin A41mcg38mcg
Niacin0.954mg0.978mg
Manganese0.17mg0.158mg
Zinc0.4mg0.4mg

*mcg = microgram (1000th of a milligram) / mg = milligram (1000th of a gram)

Canned Asparagus Vs. Fresh Uses Comparison

The texture of canned asparagus is slightly different from the fresh version because it’s pre-cooked and canned in water, so there are some instances where it won’t work so well in certain recipes and dishes.

Canned asparagus can make a good alternative to fresh in dishes such as quiche, soup, or as a vegetable side dish, but it doesn’t work so well in dishes where you need a bit of a crunch, such as roasted or pan-fried asparagus.

When asparagus is canned, it often has added salt, so it’s worth checking the can ingredients to ensure it’s not going to alter the flavor of a dish, making it too salty.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that asparagus loses some of its vibrant green color when it’s pre-cooked and canned, so you might not be able to fool your guests that it’s fresh!

Storage and Availability

Depending on which country you live in, the asparagus season can be over very quickly. Once it’s all harvested, grocery stores can only get it by importing it from countries with a suitable climate to grow it out of season.

If you like to choose locally grown options and fresh asparagus is out of season, then canned or frozen asparagus can be a good substitute for many dishes.

Fresh asparagus will keep for around 3-5 days in a refrigerator, whereas canned asparagus can be kept for about 2-3 years or until the manufacturer’s recommended use-by date, although it will still be safe to eat for longer.

Fresh asparagus can also be blanched, frozen, and kept for about a year to save it from spoiling.

Flavor and Texture Comparison

The texture of canned asparagus is different from fresh asparagus, which is firmer (providing it’s not overcooked). The softer, almost mushier texture of canned asparagus isn’t for everyone, and some people prefer the fresh option.

When it comes to choosing the best kind of asparagus for flavor, this is subjective, so we need to do a poll to get a broader opinion.

Please help us by voting for your favorite – canned asparagus or fresh, and once you vote, the winner so far will be revealed (no personal information is required to vote).

Summary

After comparing all of the nutritional data of canned and fresh asparagus and the uses of each, I can now summarise the differences between the two:

  • Canned asparagus is slightly lower in most nutrients and vitamins and minerals than fresh, but it’s still a healthy option because it contains a range of naturally occurring micronutrients.
  • Fresh asparagus is seasonal, which isn’t always available without importing, making the canned alternative more readily available.
  • Canned asparagus can be stored for much longer, although fresh asparagus can be frozen to make it last for up to a year.
  • Canned asparagus can be used as a substitute for fresh in many dishes but doesn’t; work so well if you’re looking for a crunchy texture.

It all comes down to which one you like best. Both kinds of asparagus are healthy choices that contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals; hopefully, the information in this article can help you decide which is best for you.

More Canned Asparagus Vs. Fresh FAQs

Do you have to cook canned asparagus?

Although canned asparagus can be cooked in dishes or warmed through as a side dish, it’s pre-cooked in the can so it can be eaten cold, drained straight from the can.

Why is canned asparagus so soft?

Canned asparagus has a softer texture when compared to fresh because it’s pre-cooked and stored in water. Asparagus only requires a small amount of cooking before it becomes over-soft and almost mushy.

Related Articles

I hope this article has helped you to find the information you were looking for; you might also find the following articles helpful too:

Canned Carrots Vs. Fresh (What’s the Difference?)

Peas – Fresh, Frozen, or Canned (Which Are Best?)

References Used for this Article

To ensure the nutritional information used in this article is accurate, I have used data from the USDA FoodData Central; the links below contain the source information:

USDA FoodData Central Canned Asparagus Nutritional Data

USDA FoodData Central Fresh Asparagus Nutritional Data