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Spring Asparagus

asparagus-red-peppers
Asparagus & Red Peppers in Italian Dressing

Asparagus is the harbinger of spring, the start of the new season’s local fare, and my permission to unload the squishy beets and other root veggies into the compost: nourishment for next year’s garden and a symbol of the cycles of life. I get very excited about spring asparagus and all the wonderful produce that comes after asparagus. It is definitely not my favorite vegetable, I get sick of it very quickly in the season, but I always welcome it as the hope of what is to come.

Asparagus is an old plant dating back to the age of reptiles. It grows fast as spears can shoot up 10 inches in one day. Plump spears are female and the skinny spears are male, just a botanical fun fact. Asparagus is related to onions, garlic, and other lily plants

Asparagus roots are valued herbal remedies in both Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine. Got constipation? Have some asparagus! It is also used for its ability to reduce phlegm, soothe inner tissue, and provide glutathione. Glutathione is highest in asparagus, as a food source. Glutathione is a potent anti-oxidant used in liver methylation and supportive of cancer prevention and healing.

Nutritionally speaking, asparagus packs a powerful punch with vitamins, minerals, and remember glutathione anti-oxidant support. Rich in vitamin A, Bs, C, and E and high in potassium, zinc, and other trace minerals, asparagus is a great food for spring nourishment. Nature supplies just what is needed, when needed.

Enjoy asparagus raw cut up in salads and eating by the spear, like carrot sticks, to best reap the B and C vitamin benefits. When cooking: do so gently to preserve the crisp texture and as much Vitamin C and Bs as possible. Quick steam or stir fry and get out of the heat. Quick grilling is fun too. The spear cooked to limp texture are sapped of much vitamin C and Bs. Drink the cooking water.

Quick Cream of Asparagus Soup

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2-4 cups chopped onions (No onions left after Winter? Add chopped garlic or onion chives Or garlic or onion scallions to the finished soup.)
  • Quart of chicken broth, chicken bone broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh spring herbs from your garden: dill, cilantro, oregano, tarragon, etc. Use your imagination and taste bud likes.
  • 2 pounds or so of asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces
  1. Melt butter and sauté onions (if using the chives or scapes just chop up and stir into the soup when finished.
  2. When onions are cooked, gently sauté ½ of the asparagus.
  3. Add broth & milk to a pot and gentle heat to just steaming.
  4. Put warm milk broth and remaining raw asparagus into your blender and puree.
  5. Pour puree back into pot used to warm it.
  6. Add sauteed onions and asparagus to the pot. Use a rubber spatula to get all the butter out of the sauté pan and into the pot.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste in the pot or in serving bowls when served.
  8. Add fresh chopped herbs to the serving bowl.

If you prefer all of the asparagus sauteed, do so.

If you prefer all of the asparagus and onions pureed, do so as well.

Enjoy!

Another way I enjoy asparagus is slightly steam the whole stalk to retain crispness.

Place in glass dish and add chunks of roasted red peppers to the stalks. This is good with added chickpeas and/or chunks of sauteed chicken.

Slather in a homemade olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and Italian herb dressing.

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Add 1 full teaspoon of each: parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil.
  • Mix well together and use on salads and the above asparagus and roasted red pepper dish.

Information is from my wisdom, research, training, and experience in western medicine and holistic modalities. My views are not necessarily the views of the Potsdam Food Co-op. When we make choices about our health, use other’s advice, and make choices based upon that advice; we are taking our health into our own hands. Our choices, and any actions that result from said choices, are our own responsibility. Using herbs wisely, as food and medicine, requires hands on learning and working with a trained herbalist while your own knowledge is being created.  Yes, this is my disclaimer.  –Paula Youmell, RN

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