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May 26, 2008 10:08 AM

Raw asparagus safe?

Someone told me recently that asparagus, like fiddlehead ferns, must be cooked as it contains toxins. I've been unable to confirm this. If true, what toxins? Thanks.

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  1. Hmmm, I am interested to know this myself, as I have been putting slices of raw asparagus into my salads, and so far, no definite toxic effects.... although I have taken to bouncing and singing silly songs, does that count?

    3 Replies
    1. re: moh

      No, that's just the Tigger syndrome. I often suffer from it especially after wine which absolutely cannot be toxic.

      1. re: mickie44

        Now that you mention it, I often suffer from this after wine too! Followed by the Worm syndrome, where I wiggle on the floor... :)

        1. re: moh

          I came with a handful of raw asparagus and left wanting to drink wine. Unexpected but so worth it.

          This gives me an idea for a cooking party involving all of the above.

    2. It is perfectly safe. I eat raw asparagus all the time and have seem numerous recipes for thinly shaved, raw asparagus salad.
      How can you not nibble on the stems when prepping it? So sweet!

      1. i've heard (from mushroom experts) that mushrooms contain a small amount of a carcinogen that is destroyed when the mushrooms are cooked. be that as it may, i eat mushrooms raw on occasion. could be the same for asparagus, i suppose. then again, i also eat grilled meat, which folks say will kill ya. (the grilled part, AND the meat part...) so i guess the end result is that i will die sometime...;->

        1. I've been eating it raw since I was a little kid. Never gotten sick. Super sweet spring asparagus (eaten raw) is one of the joys of life.

          1. Maybe the reason you have been unable to confirm this is because that person was wrong. Even a quick Google search will turn up thousands of recipes for raw asparagus.

            They might be referring to purines in asparagus that can cause gout in people who are suseptable. However, that is just is true of cooked asparagus as raw. Also the components of asparagus can cause 'asparagus odor' in urine ... but again ... that happens to some people raw or cooked.

            If you can trust the Michegan Asparagus board, they answered the question as follows:

            "Although most people prefer asparagus cooked in some way, it is perfectly safe to eat asparagus raw. Just rinse it well in warm water to remove any sand and serve cold with a dip."


            Actually, I've heard that raw asparagus is healthier than cooked because it loses fewer nutriants ... also has a nice, sweet nutty taste.