This article was submitted by friend, health nut and reader, Denise. It is the first installment of her “Local, Seasonal and Organic Food” column, exclusive to Live Lighter! Enjoy.
The sun is shining, our moods are better, we are spring cleaning and it’s time to discuss getting out there and exploring our local universe of food! Middle of May through June is my favorite time of year! First of all, the first crops are up, and I’m done with the preserves from last year… Second of all, it’s asparagus and rhubarb season. (yummy tummy!)
I’m going to focus on Asparagus today, but a small note on Rhubarb… It’s a hardy perennial and only needs a small corner of land to grow. It’s lovely as an ornamental, and there is no reward as great as growing your own food. Stay tuned for my next article and be convinced to try it!
Fresh asparagus is an excellent source of folate, potassium and Vitamin C. It also contains the antioxidant glutathione.
Local markets are currently flooded with Asparagus, but remember to ASK if it is local. There has been asparagus in the stores all winter, and they are clearly not local.
I encourage you to pick your own if you don’t grow it… It’s a great day trip, and very rewarding. Asparagus and Rhubarb can both be picked at http://www.andrewsscenicacres.com/ Not so close by… As the season progresses, the pick your owns get closer.
To snap a spear, bend it from the top toward the ground. Asparagus deteriorates rapidly after harvest. If it is not eaten immediately, it should be processed or refrigerated.
Asparagus is best prepared and served simply parboiled and sprinkled with Kosher Salt and drizzled with Olive oil and Lemon zest and juice. Try BBQing, grilling it…. Explore and enjoy!
Here is a basic yummy recipe:
Asparagus RecipePrint This
- 1 bunch of medium-sized asparagus, about 1 lb
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest - freshly grated lemon rind
- 1 half lemon squeezed for juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
- Prepare the asparagus by rinsing them thoroughly, break off any tough, white bottoms and discard. Cut into 1 to 2 inch sections, slicing the asparagus at a slight diagonal. (or leave them whole, if your pot can accommodate)
- Fill a medium-sized saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Parboil the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes. Drain the hot water. While the asparagus pieces are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature. And garish with the cheese if you so desire.
Note that when you are working with so few ingredients, it’s important to make sure they are of the highest quality.
In closing, here are some interesting facts about Asparagus:
- Greeks believed that it could prevent bee stings and cure toothaches
- French considered it an aphrodisiac.
- Egyptians offered it to their Gods.
Denise Lambert is a vegetarian, food enthusiast and prepares healthy, organic meals on a weekly basis for several selected clients as a side business. Denise also tries her best to live the 100 mile diet to take advantage of the added nutritional benefits of eating locally as well as doing her part to ease environmental (and social) concerns due to food transportation.