For the Love of Asparagus

“Good asparagus needs minimal treatment and is best eaten with few other ingredients.”

Yotam Ottolenghi

Living on the northern most border of New York State, one has to make adjustments for the timing of the seasons. Sometimes, it seems the whole world is planting or harvesting a garden, while we still have snow on the ground. To have fresh-picked asparagus in less than a week after the shoots come up in the second week of May is quite a blessing.

This year our crop came up early. Steve attributes this to fertilizing it as as soon as the snow melted. He used blood meal and bone meal. He also used pulverized eggs shells that he had been saving from our breakfasts all winter.

Our fresh asparagus is not like the dried out tough-to-chew stalks from the store. Our spears are tender, crisp and juicy. I love picking a spear off the plant to eat on my way down to the dock.

Steve first planted our asparagus bed in 2014, knowing it would take a few years to mature. This year, in particular, we saw the fruit of all his labor and patience.

History and Fun Facts

Asparagus, a distant cousin of the onion, originated in the eastern Mediterranean and has been eaten for over 2,000 years.

In 16th century France, it was a food for the high class, and did not find its way to the tables of the common folk until the 1800s.

It has been used by physicians to treat toothaches, bee stings, hangovers, urinary tract pain and a host of other ailments.

It can grow up to seven inches a day. I would have never guessed this, until this year!

The plants take three years to mature, and they come back each year for up to 20 years.

Nutritional Benefits

Asparagus is cholesterol free, low in calories and hardly has any fat

It’s rich in vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K

It is a natural gut-healthy prebiotic, which aids in digestion

It has diuretic properties

It’s loaded with fiber, something that is widely lacking in the Standard American Diet (SAD)

Do You Smell What I Smell?

Sulfur compounds, which are byproducts of the metabolism of asparagusic acid, cause the urine to have a rotten egg odor.

  • 30% to 50% of the population can smell this
  • It shows up 15 to 30 minutes after consumption
  • It can last for several hours
  • Whether you can smell it or not, there is no medical danger at all. It’s perfectly healthy either way

Culinary Creations

This is an incredibly versatile vegetable with limitless serving ideas. Before I went gluten free Steve used to make a superb asparagus puff pastry appetizer. Here are a few of my favorite asparagus dishes.

Growing, harvesting and eating our asparagus continues to be a source of one of the many joys my husband and I experience living on the St. Lawrence River. I hope you enjoyed reading about asparagus.

Thank you for reading! – Barb, the River Blogger (Btrb)

Feel free to reblog anything I post. I welcome all comments and discussion.

I like asparagus, too!


  1. Asparagus is probably my favorite vegetable and this time of the year eat it all kinds of ways. Thanks for the fun facts about asparagus. Next time I make an asparagus frittata I can share them with my husband.

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