Monday, May 09, 2011

The Asparagus is Here!!

My camera is really acting up lately. I took a bunch of pictures and when I went to download them, only 2 were there. So, there are no pictures for this post.

The asparagus is coming in really well. We have been eating it quite often and we have shared quite a bit with others. Today, I put up 5 quarts in our freezer for this winter. This is an old established asparagus bed. It was already here when we moved into this house. We have lived her for about 9 years.

Asparagus is an easy plant to deal with or at least for us. You have to go out and pick them at least every 2 days or there are some too big to pick. You just go out and cut them off right above ground level. Bring them in and rinse them to get any dirt off. A good way to keep them a couple of days is to stand the spears upright in a jar of water in your fridge.

There are many good ways to cook them. You can steam them and put butter on them. We recently grilled some and brushed some garlic dipping oil on them. These were tender, juice and delicious. You can also broil them. We have broiled them with some balsamic vinegar. YUM!! :) We are having some for supper tonight. We will put them on the grill.

You can can asparagus, but we choose to freeze it. That is also easy. I get a big pan of water boiling. While it is heating, I cut the spears into pieces that will fit in my freezer bags. I run a sink full of really cold water. I put a colander in the other sink. I have different books that tell you to sort the spears into sizes and that each size has to blanch for a certain time. I just do them all from 2.5 to 3 mins. I put a big bunch into the boiling water and set the timer. I have a stainless steel basket from a french fryer. I use that to put them in and take them out of the boiling water. After the 3 mins. I fish them out with my basket and put them in the sink of cold water. I load another basket full into the boiling water and set the timer. Right before the timer goes off, I fish the pieces out of the sink and put them in the colander. I dump the next bunch into the sink and load a basket full into the hot water. Then I quick load the drained pieces into my bags (which I mark with what it is and the date) and then fish the spears from the cold water into the colander, etc. It is like an on going dance. :) It would not hurt to let some stay in the cold water longer, or in the strainer longer. Just don't let them blanch too long. Then you pop the bags into the freezer.

I would encourage you to keep track of what foods you put up and how much of each that gets put up. This will help you plan for future years. If you run out too quickly, do more, and if you have a bunch left over you can either skip a year or do a lot less.

I did a quick search on line to see what all asparagus is good for. Here are some of the things I found.

It is high in vitamin K and Folate

Eat asparagus when you are pregnant or thinking about conceiving – because of it being high in folic acid it helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida

Great for your heart

Helps with fertility problems

Great for your gastrointestinal tract and your colon

Helps menstrual cramps

Is considered a diuretic which means it is a good anti-inflammatory – best for arthritis, asthma rheumatism, and even water retention…PMS

Helps detoxify your body

Great for nursing mothers stimulating milk production

Has antioxidant agents

Has antifungal and antiviral qualities

Great for your kidneys – cleansing your body by stimulating urination and preventing kidney stones

Helps prevent bladder and urinary tract infections

Asparagus has anti-cancer agents – especially lung cancer

Helps fight chronic fatigue syndrome

Helps fight off high blood pressure

If you bruise easily – eat more asparagus

Great for your capillaries – eat more asparagus to avoid varicose veins

Great for your eyes preventing cataracts

If you are experiencing hair loss- eat more asparagus

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