All About Asparagus

local asparagus

Grab your favorite asparagus recipes folks, asparagus season is here!
One of the reasons asparagus season is so looked forward to is because it kicks off the start to the local, Columbia Basin growing season.

local breakfast

Not only is Asparagus delicious, it has many health benefits!
It is high in nutrients such as folate, fiber, chromium, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Asparagus can help prevent cancer because it is one of the best sources of glutathione, which detoxifies and breaks down carcinogens.

When eaten with meat or dairy (sources of B-12), the folate in asparagus and the B-12 work together to prevent cognitive impairment and improve mental flexibility.

Asparagus contains high levels of an amino acid called asparagine. Asparagine is a natural diuretic. Increased urination helps release excess fluid and salt from the body. This is especially helpful for people with edema or high blood pressure.

aspargus

Have you ever noticed the unique smell of your urine after eating asparagus? That smell is a result of the sulfurous compounds in asparagus being metabolized in your body. Young asparagus contains higher amounts of the compounds.

Sulfur is good for connective tissue, hair, skin, and nails. There is no harm in the smell it produces, so don’t let it discourage you from eating asparagus.

Fun fact: Everyone’s urine has that unique smell after eating asparagus but not everyone can smell it. Apparently, you must have a certain gene to detect the smell.

purple asparagus

Asparagus comes in green, purple, and white!
Purple asparagus was first developed in the Albenga region of Italy and was commercialized under the name Violetto d’Albenga. It is a different variety than green asparagus.

The violet hue comes from high levels of anthocyannis, an antioxidant. Purple asparagus is slightly sweeter and more tender than green asparagus and can even be eaten raw. The gorgeous purple color is only skin deep and when cooked, the color dulls to green.

White asparagus is just green asparagus that has never seen the sun. It’s grown underground mounding soil over the stalks as they grow. Green chlorophyll is not produced because the plant doesn’t go through photosynthesis.

White asparagus needs to be peeled as the outermost layer is tough and bitter.

Asparagus is on the EWG’S Clean 15.
This is because asparagus is not threatened by many pests or diseases. Weed control around asparagus can easily be managed using effective, natural methods.

asparagus storage

Put asparagus in water, like fresh flowers, and store in the fridge.
Trim about 1 inch off the ends of the asparagus and stand spears up in a glass with a couple inches of water. Loosely cover with a plastic bag and store it in the fridge.

This method keeps the asparagus from drying out. Change water as needed, but really, asparagus is best eaten within a few days.

bend and snap
bend and snap

The bend and snap—asparagus edition:
When you are ready to eat your asparagus, give it a good rinse as it can get sandy.

We get farm direct asparagus, which has not been trimmed. To remove the woody, inedible end: Hold an asparagus spear in one hand at about the middle point, with your other hand grab the woody end and gently bend until the spear snaps. Discard the woody end. (Or save it for making vegetable stock!)

You can also use a knife to trim the ends at the place on each spear that the green begins to fade to white.

grilled asparagus

A few favorite recipes:
My favorite quick but crowd-pleasing way to prepare asparagus is to drizzle with avocado oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and a generous sprinkle of mineral rich salt. You can dress the asparagus right before cooking but it’s even better if you let it marinate. Roast or grill until crisp tender. Don’t overcook, it gets mushy!

If I am craving something fancier, these are some other tried and true favorites:
(pictures are mine, recipes are linked to originator)

asparagus w/ hollandaise
  • Asparagus with Easy Hollandaise Sauce from Eating Well - I like to roast my asparagus and use tarragon in the sauce.
  • Grilled Asparagus and Zucchini Salad from Audrey's Apron - I like to use spring onion in place of the scallion.
  • Crispy Garlic Fried Brown Rice w/ Kale from Vegetarian Gastronomy - I have subbed in other veggies based on what I have.
asparagus with shallot butter
  • Asparagus With Shallot Caper Butter from Gourmet Traveller - again, I roast the asparagus. This is an Australian blog so to convert, I use 1/2 cup butter. I also use 2 regular shallots.

It is the opinion, here at Local Pumpkin, that local asparagus is worth celebrating! 
The season is short, so we prefer to get our fill while the getting is good—expect to see asparagus in your box every week until the growing season is over. And if you would like to can asparagus to enjoy it all year round, you can purchase large quantities in the Local Pumpkin Store.

local asparagus

Local Pumpkin Produce Box is a local, family-owned business that delivers weekly produce boxes to the Tri-Cities, Washington area, including fruit boxes to local businesses. 

Local Pumpkin Produce Box provides a connection between the local farmers and your table, enabling you to eat healthier, support local and not even have to leave your house. If you are interested in more information or would like to sign up for your own box, click here.

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