Saturday, November 26, 2016

Asparagus.. and Baked Asparagus

Hello, blog readers! How are you all doing? I've finally completed a video AND a short blog, all about... asparagus.<3


It’s Asparagus season!  In New Zealand this spiky, green vege is available from approximately late September through to the new year, causing a frenzy of asparagus-lover staples such as asparagus rolls and asparagus quiche.

Here are a few nutritional facts about asparagus:

- Green Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) has quite a high metabolic rate and doesn’t store as well as other vegetables. It is best to consume asparagus within 48 hours of purchasing or harvesting it, but you can slow down the inevitable wrinkliness by wrapping the spears in a damp teatowel.

- Asparagus is famous for making your urine smell sulphurous. This problem has been perplexing humans since at least the days of Proust, although he seems to have enjoyed the effect, reporting poetically that asaparagus consumption “transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume”.  Ok, then..

- Science is not sure why some people experience the ‘smelly pee’ phenomenon and some do not. It is most likely genetic variation in ability to enzymatically produce the odourous metabolite, combined with individually differing levels in ability to perceive smells..

- Like all veges, green asparagus contains compounds such as polyphenols, amino acids, organic acids and peptides which have known health- promoting effects. Bioactive substances in asparagus have been studied for their cholesterol-lowering, liver and kidney protective, blood-pressure lowering, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects.. It is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant activity.

- Asparagus contains the fructan inulin, which is a prebiotic fibre that contributes to a healthy digestive system and feeds the ‘good bacteria’ in our gut.

- One cup of asparagus spears provides 100% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin K and 70% of the RDI for folate. It also contains an array of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3 and B6) and is quite decent for  protein at about 4 grams per cup.

But most importantly, asparagus is delicious. A really simple and impressive dish is baked asparagus. The short video at the top of this post shows my version. I've been asked for this recipe soooo many times, so here it is, forever on Youtube. :) Let me know if you give it a try.

References:

  1. Pelchat, M. L., Bykowski, C., Duke, F. F., & Reed, D. R. (2011). Excretion and perception of a characteristic odor in urine after asparagus ingestion: A psychophysical and genetic study. Chemical Senses, 36(1), 9–17. doi:10.1093/chemse/bjq081
  2. Jiménez-Sánchez, C., Lozano-Sánchez, J., Rodríguez-Pérez, C., Segura-Carretero, A., & Fernández-Gutiérrez, A. (2016). Comprehensive, untargeted, and qualitative RP-HPLC-ESI-QTOF/MS2 metabolite profiling of green asparagus (Asparagus officinalis). Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 46, 78–87. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2015.11.004

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