Saturday, April 21, 2012

Asparagus is back!

In honour of springtime and the return of the mighty asparagus...

Here's a fun recipe to try!

It's by far one of the cheapest dishes I've ever made...I already had everything in the pantry with the exception of the shrimp....a whole $6.99 at the store.

My mainstays:

Brown & wild rice
Chili Powder
Red pepper flakes
ground coriander
S & P
Lime Juice (cuz we ran out of lemon)

The shrimp was on sale and I only used about a handful from the bag, leaving tons left for another day.

The asparagus just started to emerge from their winter's slumber.
Poking their purple heads up from the dry garden soil.

Asparagus are a part of the Lily family (Liliaceae). Various species of asparagus were cultivated by Egyptian cultures beginning as early as 3000 B.C., and by Europeans including early Greek and Roman cultures.

Although it does take 3 years from planting to picking, if you have the patience and the time, it is certainly worth the wait!  (especially when you see what they sell for in the stores!!!)

Asparagus Care Guide:

Asparagus' very high respiration rate makes it more perishable than its fellow vegetables, and also much more likely to lose water, wrinkle, and harden. By wrapping the ends of the asparagus in a damp paper or cloth towel, you can help offset asparagus' very high respiration rate during refrigerator storage. Along with this helpful step, you will want to consume asparagus within approximately 48 hours of purchase or picking.

Chop to nice lengths and rinse.
I already had cooked rice in the fridge.
Pressed garlic and slivered onions into a frying pan with a bit of veg oil.
Simmer and add the chopped asparagus, rice and shrimp.
Add the spices and nuts.  Simmer until warmed thoroughly.

I like my fresh asparagus crunchy, so I just threw in the raw veggies and warmed them up...if you like a softer asparagus...then nuke for a min or steam them (about 30sec).

Asparagus Nutrition Guide:

Asparagus contains anti-inflammatory nutrients such as saponins, including asparanin A, sarsasapogenin, protodioscin, and diosgenin. Other anti-inflammatory nutrients in asparagus include the flavonoids quercetin, rutin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin.

Like chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus contains significant amounts of the nutrient inulin. Inulin is a unique type of carbohydrate called a polyfructan, and in practical terms, healthcare practitioners often refer to it as a "prebiotic." Unlike most other carbs, inulin doesn't get broken down in the first segments of our digestive tract. It passes undigested all the way to our large intestine. Once it arrives at our large intestine, it becomes an ideal food source for certain types of bacteria (like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) that are associated with better nutrient absorption, lower risk of allergy, and lower risk of colon cancer.

Alongside of its unusual inulin content, asparagus is rich in fiber (about 3 grams per cup, including about 2 grams of insoluble fiber and 1 gram of soluble fiber) and also contains a noteworthy amount of protein (about 4-5 grams per cup). Both fiber and protein help stabilize our digestion and keep food moving through us at the desirable rate. (By contrast, too much fat can slow down our digestion rate more than desired, and too much sugar or simple starch can speed it up more than desired. We're not surprised to see species of asparagus like Asparagus racemosus (commonly known as Shatavari) having a long history of use in treatment of digestive problems in certain healthcare traditions (like ayurvedic medicine), and it makes sense to us that asparagus be considered as a great food for improving digestive support in most diets.

In short: 

Loads of fibre, high in vitamin K, anti-inflammatory.  Good for digestive tract, great for diabetics!

They also make your pee smell funny.  Its not dangerous, just one of those funny human things (like corn in your poop).

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