Have you been looking to impress that special someone with your greenmarket chops?
Your specialized knowledge of what is in season?
Well, asparagus season is back.
Not your average everyday vegetable, asparagus is seen as a true luxury.
In England, where white asparagus rules, the seasonality of this vegetable is celebrated and appears on restaurant menus in a large variety of dishes. In Germany, asparagus is known as the king of vegetables.
Read Eat This, Detox That
That’s why asparagus is perhaps the perfect get dressed up for a date vegetable. The vegetable you eat with a knife and fork.
While there are 300 species of asparagus around the world, the only one you really need to think about here is the green speared Asparagus officinalis.
Maybe you just want to take the path of least resistance and order your asparagus right off the menu. That’s perfectly reasonable.
But let’s say you feel like getting a little adventurous in the kitchen. Here are a couple of ideas.
First step is to hit the green market, farm stand, or the local supermarket and search for the tender thin spears that are the prize of asparagus season. Your goal is to find bright green spears, firm and not wilted.
At home, trim the bottom of the asparagus (the white part) and trim the tiny little stems, and give them a soak in warm water to remove any dirt or sand, then rinse thoroughly.
Place the asparagus in large pan with an inch of water. Cover the pan to steam on medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until the spears are fork-tender. Don’t step away from the kitchen to check your hair or your email while cooking them, they can easily get over cooked, losing their bright green color and crunchiness, which takes away from the whole experience.
Imagine a large restaurant plate with a few spears of asparagus draped dramatically across, with a light drizzle of authentic vinaigrette.
Or toss the tender spears with some al dente pasta and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
More Olive Oil or Advil
When you have their attention, you can casually lean in and share your knowledge of the nutritional benefits of this special vegetable.
Show off your new found knowledge of the vegetable kingdom by letting your date know that you know about asparagus.
Is your date passionate about traditional or Eastern medicine?
You can intrigue them by revealing that in China and India varieties of asparagus have been prized for their medicinal properties, and that ancient Greeks and Romans used asparagus as a diuretic.
More on traditional medicine: Herb Guide
Does she or he like to read food labels?
Asparagus is a source of folate (a B Vitamin),Vitamin A, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin K as well as protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium.
More on carotenoids: Want to Look More Attractive? Eat Carrots
Or does your date complain about spending too much time in front of the computer?
Break out this gem: asparagus provide lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known as the macular carotenoids, for the key role they play in maintaining good eye health.
In Michigan, a top asparagus growing state, peak season runs from late April or early May, to mid or late June.
Now I’d like to hear from you:
Do you eat asparagus?
How do you enjoy them, plain, in recipes, or in a restaurant?
Have you found any benefits from eating asparagus?
Please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.
Jonathan Galland J.D. is Co-Founder and CEO of pilladvised.com, a website featuring breakthrough health knowledge from top universities and doctors who share the powerful healing concepts of integrated medicine.
Jonathan is a health writer who created over 100 recipes for The Fat Resistance Diet by Leo Galland M.D. Their book has been featured on the cover of Fitness, Glamour Italia, and Women’s World and in publications such as The Washington Post, Body and Soul, Self and The Wall Street Journal.
Jonathan’s work has been featured on CBN.com and Bottomline Health and he has done numerous radio interviews including an appearance on Martha Stewart Living Radio.
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References and Further Reading:
Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul;4(8):215-20. “Chemical constituents of Asparagus.” Negi JS, Singh P, Joshi GP, Rawat MS, Bisht VK. Department of Chemistry, HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar, Garhwal – 246 174, India.
BBC News Magazine, 21 April 2012, “Asparagus, royalty and the joys of seasonal eating” Stephen Evans
USDA Agricultural Research Service National Agricultural Library, Nutrient Data Laboratory, Asparagus, www.ars.usda.gov/
Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board