Newest Review: ... if you buy them out of season. Here are few suggestions on how to eat them. Asparagus with eggs and Parmesan cheese. It is a classic. B... more
Asparagus, aphrodisiac? Healthy for sure
Member Name: logberg
Advantages: Full of folacin for good health, delightful taste
Disadvantages: May encourage ''flatulence'' - dear me!
``Asparagus is an aphrodisiac'' I confidently told my man.
Feeling a little threatened by this claim, he declared it was at the top of the list of aphrodisiacs because it started with the letter A.
Now, it really was a serious situation he found himself in. Every day for eight years he'd picked up his lunch box and headed out the door to carry out the aching, back-breaking job of picking asparagus. Little did he realise he was putting himself at risk of being covertly stimulated, 'aphrodisiacally' speaking (is there such a word I wonder?)''!
I am an expert on re-telling the tales from the fields of the asparagus pickers in our province: I know how it's planted, how it's watered, when you pick it, how you pick it, even when and why you fertilise it. Anything you want to know about asparagus, ask me!!!! (Tongue in cheek there and a little sarcastic. But, I tell you, every night he came home I had to endure many, many tales from the asparagus field.)
I know this member of the lily family takes 3 years before you cut a crop, it's cut with a really sharp knife, one inch above the ground, it has to be packed and away to market that very day. OH, also I know that next day he trudged out to the asparagus field the spears would have grown 10 inches in 24 hours!
Now, being used to research, I did some while he worked away, challenging every bone in his middle-age back. I learned that the folacin in asparagus is extremely good for your blood, growth and it helps prevent liver disease. It has folic acid, potassium, fibre, thiamin and Vitamins B6 and some A and C.
The asparagus IS historically speaking an aphrodisiac. Why else did a 16th century Arabian Love Manual provide an asparagus recipe to create stimulus for amorous desires? Not quite so sexy were the Ancient Greeks and Romans who thought it would help prevent getting a bee sting or they popped along to the apothecary for an aparagus spear or two when they got toothache.
There's that word 'ache' again. My man knows about the aches and pains of asparagus picking. I must mention here that I was supportive: I always had a huge bottle of bath salts on hand for him to soak in after doing battle with acres of asparagus (Derived from Greek 'sprouts and shoots') - there's sex creeping in again!
Let's get this review back on track horticulturally! Most asparagus is green but there are increasingly new varieties of which I have tried red. Whatever the colour, you can eat asparagus raw but it really is better cooked. I always steam it and eat it a little crunchy; you can cook it in the microwave, or stir-fry it with other veges.
What you should look for if you are buying asparagus is straight, firm spears with green or purple, tight heads. Remember it is freshness that is important here, not size. Plan on preparing around 1lb (500g) for up to 4 servings, depending on how many spears you want to serve on each plate. (Half a cup of cooked asparagus will be around 24 calories.)
Asparagus is BEST eaten fresh, the day it's picked - devine. But, whenever you eat it just wash it, break the stems near the bottom to ensure there is no woody parts left on it. It will snap at the appropriate place. Boil the slightly salted water first and then plunge the spears in for a short time. Up to you for how long, decide if you want it crisp or soft. (I find that the thicker stems cook up more tender than thinner spears.)
If you don't use it the day you pick or buy it, or you are lucky to have heaps of it and want to use it in a day or two you can keep it reasonably fresh. Cut the stems 1/4'' up, wash in warm water, pat them dry and put them into a moisture-proof wrapping and then wrap the stem ends in a moistened paper towel or stand them upright in around 2'' of water. I have just wrapped them in a damp tea towel and put them in the fridge and had good results. (Asparagus needs to breath so don't wrap them in plastic.)
You can freeze asparagus or can it, but I much prefer it fresh. With a new bunch coming home everyday we just ate if fresh-picked and thanked our lucky stars that we had access to such a delightful vegetable.
My favourite easy meal is simple. Cook the asparagus, drain and pop them on a warm plate, poach two eggs to soft and put them on top, pepper to taste, put crunchy, brown-bread toast triangles around and then just savour the spring-time flavour.
Asparagus is not alway cheap so it is a vegetable that may well have a reputation of being a festive food, but do include it in the family meal planner. It is good for you, tastes superb and makes a change from the staple vegetables that are so easy to get into a habit of eating.
Centuries ago, the Egyptians offered asparagus to the Gods, they obviously knew what I know..... it really is a devine, heavenly vegetable!
(For those wondering if so much asparagus in our life put me in a position to pontificate on whether it really is an aphrodisiac in our relationship... my lips are sealed!)
OR, TRY IT FOR YOURSELF!
Summary: Asparagus, health bonanza, crisp, tasty vege