One sure sign of the long awaited spring season in full swing is market stands and grocery stores selling local asparagus. But local asparagus is here for only a short time. This nutritious crop is tastily here one minute and then gone before we know it. Did you know that here in Chatham-Kent we are the No. 2 producer of asparagus in all of Ontario?
Asparagus is crammed with essential vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics that are necessary for healthy bodies. They are one of nature’s true food heroes as a source of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Asparagus is also packed in the naturally occurring phytochemicals of glutathione, rutin, and folic acid.
Next to orange juice, aspargus is regarded as the second best whole foods source of folic acid. Asparagus is naturally fat-free and is a good source of dietary fibre and inulin. Asparagus acts as a natural diuretic and is low in carbohydrates, cholesterol, sodium, and calories (only 11 calories in three spears).
Asparagus is one of those healthy foods that can contribute to healthy meals leaving you feeling as though you are eating well and enjoying your food. If you are trying to get your five a day fruit and veggies, the advice is to eat 80g of each item. Five spears is about the right quantity for your one portion.
You should select asparagus that is firm, fairly straight, wrinkle-free spears with tightly closed tips. The spears should be a rich green, sometime with hints of purple, from top to bottom. Store them in a plastic bag in your crisper or set in the fridge standing upright in a container filled with enough cold water to keep the stems moist. To prepare it for cooking, wash well and then snap off the tough, lower part of the spear at its natural breaking point.
Boiling or steaming are common ways asparagus is prepared and will usually take two to four minutes.
Since we are in barbecue season, you can also grill asparagus by brushing the spears lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper; place them directly on the grill over medium-high heat and cook until nicely coloured and just tender, about two to three minutes per side. Another method involves blanching the asparagus for one minute before grilling, as it gives them a richer green colour and makes them moister in the middle.
So why not buy some delicious and nutritious Chatham-Kent asparagus and try a few new recipes? Remember, green is good for you. But don’t delay – here today, but aspara-gone tomorrow.
Also, with the spring planting season underway, this means farmers are moving large farm machinery on our local roads as they move from field to field. Please slow down and be very careful when you see these farm implements. Also, please be patient. Our farmers are just trying to do their job and not intentionally trying to slow you down. Thank you for your understanding.
June 1-7 is Local Food Week across all of Ontario, so here in Chatham-Kent, let’s celebrate our delicious and nutritious local food and our amazing local food producers. Thank you for supporting local food.
Think about this – The thought of God staggers our mind, but to know Him satisfies our heart.
Just some food for thought.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community’s agricultural website at: www.wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’