Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vegetables : Asparagus

Asparagus is part of the Lily family and has been considered a delicacy since ancient times.  Wild asparagus has a long history of use in India and other parts of Asia as a botanical medicine.

Health benefits of Asparagus

I wrote about the health benefits of asparagus in my post on the health benefits of spring foods, but here they are again just in case you missed them :

  • Great to detox your system - Known for reducing belly fat and contains digestive system cleansing fibre.
  • For anti-aging - rich in potassium, vitamin A and folate as well as glutathione, an antioxident that protects cells from toxins
  • High in Folate which protects against cancer.
  • The folate also helps reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Contains Vitamin K which aids in bone formation and repair as well as helps prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. 
  • Folate also reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • Prevents birth defects - getting enough folate is especially important for pregnant women. A folate deficiency has been correlated with increased risk of Spina Bifida and other defect. Folate also helps prevent premature births.

How to grow Asparagus

Asparagus spears grow from a crown such as this that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soil.  Each crown will send up spears for about 6 to 7 weeks during the spring and early summer months. After harvesting is done the spears grow into ferns which produce berries and nutrients necessary for the next season's crop.

Unfortunately if you are in a hurry for your own asparagus you will be dissapointed because asparagus is not harvested for the first 3 years after the crowns are planted.  This allows them to develop a strong fibrous root system.  However, once they start to produce, a well cared for asparagus patch will give you a nice crop for about 15 years before you need to replant it.

Since asparagus is not planted like other garden vegetables, I think especially in this case a few videos can be very helpful.

There are also many articles available on growing asparagus.  Here you will learn everything you might possibly want to know about asparagus ... and then some.  Just in case you want more, here are a few more information sources :

Asparagus recipes

Since asparagus is a spring vegetable, asparagus soup can really hit the spot on those still cold spring nights.

Asparagus with hollandaise sauce is a traditional way to serve asparagus that makes a great side dish, especially for grilled or pan fried meat, poultry or fish that tend to not have any other sauce.

And asparagus and smoked salmon quiche is a treat I look forward to every year.

Look for another great asparagus recipe tomorrow, meanwhile here is today's inspirational garden from who have an amazing asparagus bed.

"Almost any garden, if you see it at just the right moment, can be confused with paradise."
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