It’s one of my favourite ‘seasons’ all year – and one of the shortest. Local Asparagus is starting to come in in my part of the world and I can’t wait to get it in the steamer, on the grill and roasted with herbs and butter! But there’s more to Asparagus than its ability to complement almost any entrée…
Asparagus is one of those odd veggies – like Fern Fiddleheads – that one consumes as a sprout rather than a fully developed stemmed plant, a leaf, a fruiting body or an end-of-summer-harvested root. It has a unique Umami flavour that goes with almost any protein course you can imagine and is fantastic cooked almost any way you can imagine. Folks either love it or hate it. (I’ve long held that this proves my theory that there really are such creatures as Umami-phobes out there!) But it’s only around, locally, for a few short weeks in the Spring and those who love it go to great lengths to enjoy it while it’s here.
Did you know…
- That Aparagus is a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium and Dietary Fibre plus a whole laundry list of other important vitamins and minerals?
- That it contains almost no Sodium or fat?
- That it can take up to eight years for newly planted Asparagus to establish itself in your garden bed?
- That Asparagus roots can extend three meters (10 feet) or more, down into soft soil?
- That Asparagus has, for hundreds of years, been used in folk medicine as a diuretic?
- That the signature odour Asparagus imparts a to the urine of those who eat it is produced by a unique selection of methyl and sulphur compounds which can appear in urine within 30 minutes of Asparagus consumption?
There’s lots more!
Enjoy your asparagus this spring. And rejoice in the knowledge that it is not only tasts great but is great for you, too!
~ Maggie J.