Springtime is for Asparagus

In the spring I love to add  fresh lettuce and swiss chard from my canoe garden to my daily salad.  My favorite treat, however, is when I  finally see the long-awaited stalks of asparagus peeking up above the straw mulch.  Ahh, the heavenly taste of fresh asparagus. Occasionally I will eat it raw, straight out of the garden.  My family loves it roasted (see recipe below), and we all appreciate that a vegetable that tastes so great has so many wonderful benefits. I have found most kids discover they love to eat roasted asparagus- great finger food!

 Anti-inflammatory Food

Asparagus has been declared a true anti-inflammatory food because of it’s unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients.  These include mixed saponins, flavonoids, and a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including glutathione.

“Saponins in food have repeatedly been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and their intake has also been associated with improved blood pressure, improved blood sugar regulation, and better control of blood fat levels.”  (1)

Digestive Support

Asparagus contains a significant amount of the nutrient inulin. Inulin is a natural food fiber often touted as an excellent “prebiotic” for beneficial bacteria in the gut that are associated with better nutrient absorption, lower risk of allergy, and lower risk of colon cancer.(2)

Also rich in other dietary fiber and about 4-5 grams of protein per cup, asparagus is a great all-round vegetable, especially when freshly picked in the spring.

Roasted Asparagus

 

 

One of the quickest and most delicious ways to cook asparagus is roasted. Less than 5 minutes to prepare, it goes with just about any entree.

  • Buy the freshest asparagus you can find, and then eat it within 24-48 hours to retain the most nutrition
  • Rinse and then snap off the fibrous base- leaving the delicious tender stalk.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Dribble one TBS olive oil over the stalks on a baking sheet, rolling them with your hands to cover them lightly
  • Season with sea salt to taste
  • Roast for 6-8 minutes

Don’t cook them too long, or instead of crisp green delicious asparagus, you will end up with brown, limp, burnt stalks.

 

**Another variation that is quite delicious is to use sesame oil and grate some fresh ginger on top of the asparagus before roasting.

 

Enjoy!

Robin

References used:
(1) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=12
(2) http://www.uspharmacist.com/content/d/featured%20articles/c/11544/

(3) http://www.phytochemicals.info/