FREE US Shipping Over $250. Even More Supplement Options At Our Retail Location: (707) 528-HERB

7 Minute Asparagus

March 26, 2015

 Asparagus recipesAuthor: Lily Mazzarella
Harbinger of Spring
Out here in California, we're lucky to see asparagus spears poking up as early as February. Asparagus season starts elsewhere in March or April, and its cheerful appearance is a sign to the snow-weary that Spring is finally here. Asparagus has a lot going for it, not the least of which is a notably fast preparation time.

What's good about it? Asparagus contains high amounts of folate, vitamin K, and thiamin, as well as inulin, a "prebiotic" that feeds beneficial gut flora. Folate helps run our methylation cycles, which is crucial for everything from detoxification to neurotransmitter production and defense against viruses. Vitamin K participates in healthy blood clotting, bone and cardiovascular health, while thiamin (B1) helps fuel our cells' energy cycles. Herbalists use asparagus to soothe the urinary tract, while traditional Chinese medicine considers it to be Yin enhancing–nourishing to watery, anchoring principle that keeps us fluid, flexible, and full of reserves.

How do I choose it and store it? At risk of stating the obvious, skip over asparagus that seems old or faded—its nutrient content is seriously compromised (folate, for example, breaks down quickly in light). Good stems are round, firm, with dark, tightly closed tips. Most commercially available asparagus is green to purple in color—purple can be sweeter. Happily, asparagus is on the Environmental Working Group's "Clean 15" list—meaning that you don't have to buy it organic. It's important to store asparagus properly and use it quickly, as it has a very high rate of respiration:  after it has been cut, asparagus continues its metabolic activities, which outstrip those of the average vegetable. It gets tired. Tired asparagus will harden, wrinkle, and lose nutritional value. You can offset this by wrapping the base of your bunch in a damp cloth and storing in the fridge. It is best to consume your asparagus within 48 hours.

Asparagus Pee: There is no final word on what causes the distinctive urine odor in a subset of asparagus eaters. There are 20+ compounds associated with the smell (which can occur within an hour of eating asparagus), and a probable genetic component. Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you.

7 Minute Asparagus: Many of us have never had properly prepared asparagus—only overcooked and slightly slimy stuff.  Done right, asparagus is firm, earthy, and slightly sweet, with no mushy collapse as you bite in.

Here are 2 quick ways to make perfect asparagus:

Snap the base off of your bunch of asparagus (I usually aim for 6-7 stems per person). If you hold the base and bend the stalk, there will be a natural breaking point—I like to observe this line rather than arbitrarily trimming the bottoms with a knife. Rinse, or if sandy/dirty, soak and agitate lightly in cold water.

Water method: 

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt.

Submerge the asparagus in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes.

Quickly strain and douse in cold water.

Dress with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon.

 Oven method:

Preheat oven to 400, and allow to come fully to temp.

Toss asparagus in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place on baking sheet or dish.

Cook for 6 minutes. While baking, remove the peel from a ¼ of a lemon.

Scrape out some of the pith and sliver into matchsticks.

After removing asparagus from the oven, toss with lemon peel and enjoy!

Raw asparagus? One of my favorite salad toppings is shaved, raw asparagus.  I had this for the first time last Spring at Flora in Oakland—it was a revelation! Why had I never eaten asparagus raw? It makes you instantly fancy. Plus, shaving it takes less than 7 minutes.


For more delicious springtime recipes,

download our Happy Liver Detox Guide!


★ Customer Reviews

Let customers speak for us

353 reviews
Got Sick - Respiratory Specific
Catherine - San Francisco
Extra-Level Respiratory Support

Nourishing Lung tincture has been our go-to during the now-annual fire season, reducing the impacts of smoke & polluted air, and for providing overall respiratory support.
Got Sick-Respiratory Specific is a great addition for the onset of URIs and other respiratory distress, as it seems to act rapidly and deeply. It's also very effective in combination with Nourishing Lung. My husband was developing a URI following surgery, and before calling the Dr for antibiotics, he opted to try using both tinctures, together with Got Sick regular formula. Significant improvement occurred within 12 hours and he was able to clear it without medication. Highest recommendation.

Thank you for letting us know how these worked for you!

GI Fortify
Kim Metcalf
G.I. Fortify

Like the ease of the capsules. Also use the powder. Excellent way to add fiber and help digestive track. Definitely use it daily.

Intolerance Complex
Kim Metcalf
Intolerance Complex

Helps some when eating dairy or gluten on a occasional basis. Have purchased several bottles over the past few years.

Life saver!

Recommended to me by 2 Naturopaths. this product has helped me out of SIBO issues and also maintained my body's natural gastric process.
Whenever I have a flare up of digestive problems, this product, in combination with garlic and probiotics has helped me restore things without the torment of antibiotics, which destroy your gut lining. I highly recommend staying on an assigned regiment of Candibactin BR for a cure.

Inflamyar Ointment
pam zimmerman

Woks great for pain. The best arnica product I've found.