I’m feeling inspired to plant an asparagus crown this year in my garden—these starters are available at garden centers only in the early spring, so now is the time. As a plant, asparagus is a beautiful perennial, sending up spears each spring that look other-worldly and mysterious, followed by tall, frilly fronds that look lush and lovely in the garden.
But if the promise of a spring asparagus harvest is exciting from a gardening perspective, it’s downright delectable from a breakfast, lunch or dinner point of view. Whether tossed into an omelet, stirred into a salad, folded into a pasta or grain bowl, or grilled and eaten by the spear, asparagus is a fresh, vibrant spring delicacy.
If you need encouragement to add asparagus to your spring menu, keep these three benefits in mind.
1)Nutrition PowerhouseFiber, folate and vitamins A, C, E and K are only some of the important nutrients asparagus boasts. The vegetable also contains high levels of antioxidants, compounds that reduce inflammation and offer anti-aging benefits, helps prevent cognitive decline and is believed to help prevent cancer. With few calories (and lots of flavor), asparagus gives you a lot of nutritional bang for your buck.
2)Natural DiureticIf you’re like me, eating asparagus is followed by a distinctive smell next time you head to the bathroom for Number 1. This phenomenon is utterly harmless. In fact, the aspargusic acid that causes the odor actually helps your body because it contains an amino acid that acts as a natural diuretic, drawing salts from your body and increasing your body’s output of urine. People with high blood pressure especially benefit from this property.
3)Delicious!Taking pleasure in what we eat is a health benefit in and of itself—and when a food is as nutritionally beneficial as asparagus, enjoying it plentifully is a win-win. Prepare asparagus by snapping off the woody end at the place where it naturally breaks. Then, toss it in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a hot oven or on a grill. Or, cut the spears into pieces and sauté or stir fry. Cooked asparagus is delicious either warm or cold and can brighten up salads, serve as a scrumptious side dish to meats or fish, or taste delicious alongside raw vegetables served with dip.
Do you think of spring as “asparagus season?” What’s your favorite way to enjoy it?