Asparagus is one of those veggies that signals the start of spring after a long winter. As soon as it starts popping up in grocery stores and farmers markets, I love incorporating it into recipes this time of year.
The most common variety is green, but asparagus comes in white and purple as well. It takes three years to grow from seed, and it is harvested in the spring. Asparagus is famous for the way it makes urine smell because of a specific compound found in it. It’s a myth that not everyone is affected by this. The truth is not everyone has the ability to smell it. Thankfully, asparagus is part of the clean 15 which means it’s not necessary to buy organic. This means that it is least likely to have harmful residue left on it from pesticides.
Why is it beneficial?
Asparagus is a nutrient dense food which means it offers a lot of benefits for very few calories. It’s a great source of fiber and vitamins A, C, E, and K. It also has plenty of minerals like chromium and selenium. Asparagus is great for people with high blood pressure because it is a diuretic and flushes out a lot of salt content. It can also help fight and protect against cancer. It’s antioxidants neutralize carcinogens and keep your cells healthy. Asparagus can improve brain function, too.
When is it in season?
Local asparagus can be found in a short season in April and May. It’s often found in limited quantities since it is very difficult to grow.
How long will it keep?
You should eat your asparagus as soon as possible for optimal freshness and nutrition. Any leftover stalks can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. Put the stalks in a glass container with water covering the ends and refrigerate.
How do I prepare asparagus?
Always remember to wash and trim the tough ends of the stalks before cooking. Here’s some fun ways to use your asparagus:
- Sauté the whole stalks in olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Toss some chopped walnuts or almonds into the pan before serving.
- Grill the stalks then sprinkle with parmesan cheese and lemon juice
- Wrap the stalks in bacon or prosciutto and bake in the oven.
- Add sliced asparagus to quiches or pastas for a little extra nutrition.
Be sure to enjoy this spring vegetable while you can!
Weekly Fig is a private membership association for local sustainable foods.