The longer I’m on this healing journey of mine, or maybe it’s just the older and wiser I get (lol), the more I appreciate the seasonality of life. When you take the time to slow down and appreciate things, when they happen, why they happen, the bigger picture, you can learn so much.
I never much cared for spring as a child. It meant that the snow banks I had so much fun on during the winter were disappearing. It meant that everything would be a soupy, muddy mess until said snow ran off. It also meant laying water, which was fun to play in but also meant mosquito season. Definitely not fun. It also meant hours of child labour in the giant garden my mom once had.
Funny how the things we avoid as children often become our desires as adults. A good chunk of my mom’s garden was an impressive asparagus patch. It was at least four feet wide and ran the entire length of the garden (which was somewhere in the range of 1/4-1/2 of an acre). And we stuffed our faces with this perennial veggie every spring before it bolted and made impressive trees.
Looking back at it now, I realize how much I took our free and easy access to asparagus for granted. There was always more than we could eat and a healthy stash for the freezer. One of the quintessential spring veggies, it’s only available for such a limited window in the shops. But it’s so good! And good for you!
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus is an excellent source of whole-food folate, which is particularly important for women interested in becoming or who are pregnant. It is one of the highest food sources of the oh-so-important glutathione. While food sources of glutathione make up only a very small portion of our total glutathione levels (1-2%), it is believed to directly nourish the intestinal tissues with this important coenzyme. Though cooking has shown to reduce these levels significantly. Asparagus is also a good source of inulin, a resistant starch that acts as a prebiotic in our digestive system, feeding the healthy microbes in the gut. And asparagus also boasts a host of other micronutrient density, making this springtime treat well worth including in your diet.
Growing up, our favourite way to eat asparagus was with cream sauce. It was amazing. And while I still very much enjoy a good helping of creamed asparagus, this recipe for lime-braised asparagus has been a HUGE hit! This was my first real foray into braising veggies, and I think I’m hooked! One pound of asparagus rarely leaves us any leftovers. I can’t wait to have my own garden again and start my own asparagus patch!
A quick and easy springtime side dish using one of my favourite seasonal veggies - asparagus!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1lb fresh asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
- salt to taste
- 1/3 cup chicken stock or veggie stock
- 1 teaspoon lime juice, to taste
- Heat oil in a large pan over med-high/high heat (you want it hot, but keep it below smoke point). Arrange asparagus in as close to a single layer as possible in the pan and salt.
- Cook asparagus in this position until the spears start to look blistered and slightly browned, approximately 1-2 minutes (depending on the thickness of your spears). Stir to turn the spears as much as possible, salt, and braise for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add chicken stock and lime juice to the pan to deglaze and allow to simmer if some of the asparagus spears still require a little more cooking time. Adjust salt if necessary.
- Remove asparagus spears to plate and top with sauce from the pan.
- Serve and enjoy!
Depending on the size of pan you use, you may need to braise the asparagus in two batches.