Asparagus is a member of the lily family and was touted as a cure all in ancient times. It was used as an aphrodisiac, to cure a toothache, to prevent bee stings and the ancient Egyptians offered it as a gift to their gods. Not bad for a little green pointy veggie.
From a nutritional point of view asparagus gains rock and roll superstar status. It is an excellent source of folate which helps prevent changes to DNA reducing cancer risks. It is also an important source of potassium, a source of Vitamin C, high in rutin which is valuable in strengthening the blood vessels and according to the National Cancer Institute is the highest tested food containing the antioxidant glutathione; one of the body’s most potent cancer fighters. All this for around 4 calories a spear.
Ever wonder why after eating asparagus your urine may have a pungent smell? It’s the sulphur compounds in the asparagus that causes this weird odour it in about 40% of the population.
- Look for bright green stalks that are crisp, straight and have tightly closed, compact tips. Avoid partially opened or wilted tips.
- One pound (500 g) yields four servings.
- Remove the rubber bands; they actually speed up rotting by restricting water flow through the stalks.
- For optimum flavour and nutrient density wrap the bottom of the stalks in a damp paper towel, place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Or stand them upright in a jug of fresh water covered with a plastic bag. Use within two days.
- Wash really well under cold running water to get rid of any sand.
- You can either snap off the thick butt end of the asparagus or guesstamate where the thick part ends and the tender begins and cut off the thick part with a knife.
- Stir fry, barbeque, steam, or roast.
- Asparagus goes really well with lemon and lime flavours. Steam and then drizzle with fresh citrus juice
- Stir fry with a small amount of canola oil and then toss with light or sodium reduced soy sauce or tamari
- Roast in the 350 F oven with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil for 10-15 minutes or until your desired doneness and serve with a small amount of freshly grated cheese
- To barbeque toss with a small amount of canola oil, place on the barbeque and grill turning often till slightly blackened, drizzle with lime juice
- Use leftover cold cooked asparagus in your next sandwich. Goes really well with turkey, sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Or toss leftover cold asparagus into a salad or add to an omelette
Mairlyn’s World Famous Lime Mayo
Most of us foodies catered back in the day, and I was one of them. This simple recipe for serving with cold cooked asparagus always got raves.
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. (40 mL) low fat mayo
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) lime juice
Zest of lime
1. Whisk together mayo, lime juice and zest. Drizzle over cold cooked asparagus and serve.