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Asparagus: Truths, Lies & Delicious Sides

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Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012 4:53 pm

All asparagus is green.    Lies!  

     What makes asparagus such a “hot” topic in the culinary world?  Because it actually comes in three colors!  These colors are green, white and purple.  White is actually the most common color of asparagus in Europe.  Is color the only difference?

     Green asparagus gets its color in the photosynthesis process.  This means that it has been touched with sunlight and chlorophyll is produced within the plants to turn green in color.  How does the asparagus stay white?  By never touching the sunlight!  White asparagus is grown underneath a large mound of dirt and harvested before it ever reaches the top.   Purple asparagus is different from the green and white because it has higher sugar content.  The purple actually has 20% more sugar then the other two.  Purple asparagus is sweeter and has a nutty flavor when cooked.  It has quickly become a hot commodity both raw and cooked.  You can find these wonderfully colored vegetables in pastas, stir-fry, topping salads and as a side dish!

Asparagus can alter the smell of urine.    Truth! 

     Many people notice a pungent odor in their urine around fifteen minutes after eating it.  A sulfur containing amino acid that the body produces during the breakdown of asparagus causes this odor.  Do only some of us produce this acid?  NO!  Everyone produces it, but only around 2/3rds of the population can smell it!  This is still being researched scientifically, but it is said that producing asparagus urine is a sign of intelligence! 

Delicious Sides!

Bringing It Home asked it’s fans how they like to prepare asparagus and the sides sound delicious! 

Here are a few of my favorites:

*Jenny Di Paolo likes to marinate her asparagus in soy sauce, olive oil and garlic then grill. 

*Bob Davis mentioned my favorite way to prepare asparagus.  Add olive oil, garlic salt and pepper marinated overnight.  Then smoke the asparagus!

*Pietro Diano said he prepares a cream pasta sauce by cooking boiled and cut asparagus with heavy cream and mixing with pasta!

Try this delicious side of Grilled Asparagus and Hearty Vegetables!

Here are some fun facts about the asparagus we know and love:

*Asparagus can grow up to 1 inch in an hour.

* Asparagus is a perennial vegetable.  This means it can produce on its own for several growing seasons! 

*There are less than 20 calories in a single (1/2 cup) serving of asparagus.

*Asparagus serves as a great source of vitamin C.    Just one serving has 20% of the daily-recommended intake. 

      Are there any myths you would like to clear up about a fruit or vegetable you love?  Leave a comment on my blog or Facebook and I will post and clear these myths soon!  If you would like to celebrate asparagus, April 27th-29th is the annual Asparagus Festival in Stockton.  Bring your appetite and take a walk down “Asparagus Alley” for some delicious local produce.  For more information, click here.

Keep it fresh,

Laura McIntosh   





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