As the Australian winter ends its 6 week stint, spring approaches, and with that comes one old-fashion ingredient that’s been around long enough to have seen a thing or two – asparagus.
Everyones favourite poached egg companion has been around for a lot longer than you would have thought, thanks to it’s ability to spear the hearts of pretty powerful people. Asparagus has been giving us its tips since long before any of us were born – so long ago, that there’s depiction of asparagus on an Egyptian frieze dated 3000 BC and Queen Nefertiti proclaimed it to be the food of the gods.
In fact, during ancient Roman times, emperors often had entire teams of soldiers who were tasked with finding the best quality asparagus and once they found it, preserved it by freezing it in the alps around 1st century BC. There are even written accounts of how to plant asparagus dated 160 BC. And King Louis XIV named it the “food for kings”, and began growing it in greenhouses so he could enjoy it all year long (pretty expected for the man of opulence).
I personally can’t blame folks of yesteryear for being fans of the asparagus; not only does it taste great in most dishes, but each stick is a huge helper in keeping us healthy.
So what makes it great for us?
- Uncooked asparagus has a massive dose of prebiotic fibre, making it much-loved by your gut microbe and a great digestive aid.
- It’s a perfect cocktail of calcium, antioxidants and vitamins A& C, which can turn your hair into the most luscious locks ever.
- It’s packed full of folate, which helps to cure a hangover (that explains it’s significant role in brunch menus), potentially prevent cancer and reduce the chance of birth defects.
- Your bones are also a big fan of asparagus thanks to their high levels of vitamin K.
When the growing conditions are right for the Big A, crops can grow at up to an inch per hour, keeping farmers working pretty hard to keep up with the harvest. So making it a regular player in the kitchen helps out those farmers who are trying to keep up with this veggie that likes to sprint to the finish line. When it’s not in season though, most asparagus tends to comes from Peru – overall, not a great thing for the environment. So if you’re one for shopping local, buy BIG when it’s in season, enjoy the heck out of it and then spend the rest of the year in mourning until the next asparagus season.
But there is one thing that often stands in the way of asparagus becoming a regular on your spring shopping list: not knowing how to best use it. So get ready to help out your local asparagus farmers and become it’s next biggest fan with these tasty recipes;
So get your kitchen ready; it’s about to become asparagused!
Has asparagus captured your heart too? Let us know how in the comments!