Easy Asparagus

how cook asparagus

Why is Asparagus so good for you and why does it make your pee smell?

Asparagus...who knew that this strange vegetable, that scares children and adults alike, would become my latest obsession.
Although our family always ate vegetables, asparagus always seemed to be in the "other" section, away from my safe broccoli and cauliflower. Perhaps I found it intimidating because it's so unique looking, but I also had no idea how to cook this spear-like vegetable with delicate buds?

This year my goal is to get out of my vegetable comfort zone. A great way to systematically do this, is to eat in-season. Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to rear its bud out of the cold winter ground....around May/June here in Ontario. Now that I've tried fresh local asparagus, I can't get enough of it. During springtime it makes a weekly appearance on our dinner table.

This is a good thing, because asparagus is so good for us. It has a truly unique combination of anti-inflammatory properties, and it's high in antioxidants. Both of these protect against so many diseases and cancers. Besides being rich in so many vitamins, it's a great source of fiber. It's particularly rich in glutathione, which breaks down carcinogens in your body. Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence.

How to prepare asparagus

Asparagus isn't so scary to prepare all. We're talking fast food here! First of all, try to buy local, because asparagus is best consumed within a couple of days. Store it in the fridge, with the ends in a bit of water, or wrapped in a wet paper towel. When you're ready to cook it, just cut off about an inch or two off the stems. Or, if you really want to impress onlookers, bend them and let them snap where they naturally break.

After years of drowning my veggies in sauces, I've come to appreciate that simple is best. Let your veggies shine.

easy ways to cook asparagus
Wash your asparagus and then drizzle it with a bit of olive oil. Add salt and lots of pepper. My family loves it best prepared this simple way.

Throw them on the barbecue for a few minutes, or roast them in a pan at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Overcooking will lead to limpy asparagus, which is actually quite good on burgers and sausage buns, but for eating as is, I like my asparagus with a little crispness to it. Finish off with a squeeze of lemon and serve.

Both of my kids love asparagus. I knew my daughter did, but noticed the other day that my son had a bunch on his plate. Never assume your kids won't like asparagus.

Why does asparagus make pee smelly?

Most post-asparagus-pee experts feel that the funny odor in urine comes from methylmercaptan, a sulfur-containing derivative of the amino acid, methionine. Others argue that it's the asparagine-amino-succinic-acid monoamide.

I think it's funny that people actually argue about this, and others eat asparagus and then donate pee in test bottles for them.

Either way it happens ... it's normal. You'll forget though, and then everyone will laugh when you tell them you think there's a skunk outside the bathroom window.

So next time you're at your grocery store, or local market, pick up a batch of these lovely spears to fight veggie boredom and disease!

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