Updated: Jan 29
Did you know that nature produces certain fruits and vegetables at certain times of the year for an actual reason? It's not random, there's purpose to the change of harvests.
For example, winter brings us hearty winter squashes great for stews to keep us full and warm while spring brings us detoxifying foods like asparagus, and nettles for allergy relief as trees come into bloom.
As spring approaches, our bodies are ready for some spring cleaning and a light detox. As it turns out, asparagus is great for detoxing. While asparagus at its peak can have a sweetness to it, there's an underlying bitterness that is great to keep the liver working optimally. Your liver loves bitter foods!
It is also an anti-inflammatory food, which is helpful in a world where so much of the food products we consume are inflammatory.
Lastly, asparagus is filled with nutrients like vitamin K, folate and copper. It is also a good source of fiber and specifically inulin, a type of soluble fiber that feeds your good gut bacteria to help maintain a healthy balance in your gut microbiome. It's called a prebiotic (stay tuned for more information on prebiotics and probiotics keeping your digestive system healthy).
So here's a quick recipe to get you started with the asparagus season:
1 bunch of asparagus
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil
1 tbsp fresh meyer lemon juice
Fresh meyer lemon zest
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Opt for organic ingredients whenever possible!
Wash asparagus and snap off ends with your hands about an inch from the bottom. You'll notice where the tough part wants to break from the more edible stalk. Save these tough ends for homemade vegetable broth!
Heat ghee or coconut oil in a pan on medium heat. Add asparagus and cover. Let cook until a fork can easily pierce an asparagus spear, about 8-10 minutes. Time will depend on your stove and if you like asparagus slightly crunchy or more cooked. The less cooked it is, the more nutrients it will have because excessive heat kills some of the vitamins.
When it's done to your liking, turn off the heat and add fresh lemon juice. Transfer to a serving platter and add lemon zest for color and added flavor as well as salt and pepper to taste. For some added richness, top with parmesan cheese.
Enjoy the bounty of the springtime harvest!