May 29, 2012

It's Not Easy Being Green...Asparagus

In a family of veggie lovers, Lil-J is the odd boy out.  He loves protein, and would prefer a steak or pork chops over any side veg.  It's a constant battle to get him to try new veggies and continue to eat the veggies that he once liked.  But we don't let his stubbornness discourage us, and our patience has paid off.  This month, we had a major veggie breakthrough!  An asparagus milestone!

We consume A LOT of asparagus! It's a weekly purchase at the grocery store, and we eat it up to twice per week. "We" being hubby, Big-A and I. We have been trying to get Lil-J to try it for about a year now. As with any other new food, every night that we served asparagus, a single spear would be placed on Lil-J's plate. Night after night, he would balk at it, give it the stink eye or throw it across the room. Over time, he also learned that he could easily sneak it to his big brother who would happily gobble it up.

Earlier this month, I tried again for the entire meal to get Lil-J to try a spear of asparagus.  At the end of the meal, he surprised us all by eating a piece!  I honestly think that he did this just to shut us all up and get us off his back, but I'm ok with that!  We all broke out in applause, gave tons of high-fives and told him how proud we were of him.  Big-A was especially excited!  The following night we served asparagus and again, Lil-J ate it - this time 4 spears!

Lil-J eating asparagus!  Success!!
A thumbs-up from Lil-J - he likes it!

Feeding your children healthy foods can be very frustrating.  They will fight back and test your patience.  They'll throw the food they don't want to eat and make you regret ever putting it on their plate.  But every second of this battle is worth it!  When starting these battles, I remind myself of the old saying "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again".  It may have taken a year of placing that single piece of asparagus on Lil-J's plate for him to actually try it, but now he likes it!  This method works for us, and we will continue to use it!

Now, for some information on delicious asparagus...
  • it is a member of the Lily family
  • it can grow up to 10" in 24 hours
  • it grows in sandy soil
  • contains no fat or cholesterol, low in sodium
  • contains less than 4 calories per spear
  • a very high source of Folic Acid; a single serving (approx 6 spears) provides 60% of your recommended daily allowance of Folic Acid making this vegetable ideal for pregnant women
  • great source of Folic Acid, potassium, fibre, Vitamins B6, A & C, and thiamin

There are many different ways to cook asparagus.  My favourite cooking method is to steam asparagus in an aluminum foil packet, either in the oven or bbq.

Perfect Steamed Asparagus

1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 tbsp melted butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
2 sheets of aluminum foil, cut approximately 18" long

1. Snap the end off of each asparagus spear.  Rinse well under cold running water.
2. Place asparagus on a large piece of aluminum foil.
3. Drizzle butter or olive oil and lemon juice over the asparagus.
4. Sprinkle asparagus with a pinch of salt and pepper.
5. Place the second piece of aluminum foil on top of the asparagus and seal by folding the two pieces over one another on the four sides.  Fold until you create a tight seal.
6. If using a bbq, place the asparagus on the top rack for 15 minutes.
7. If using the oven, place in oven set at 375 degrees F and steam in the aluminum packet for 18 minutes.
8. When the asparagus is cooked, carefully tear open the packet (steam will be released and can burn your hands), place in a dish and serve.

You may have to adjust the cooking time depending on the heat of your oven or bbq.  Perfectly cooked asparagus should have a slight bite to it, and should not be mushy.

Perfectly cooked asparagus - spears are not soft and mushy,
but they are cooked through.

Ontario asparagus is in-season May and June.  Take advantage of Ontario asparagus and serve it as much as possible during these months, steamed or grilled on the bbq, pureed into a delicious asparagus soup or sauteed and served with pasta.  And if you can't get your kids to eat it, keep trying and don't give up!

1 comment:

Ella Pretty Blog said...

We used to have asparagus once a week before kids - but it hasn't been on the menu for a while...thanks for the reminder - I think I'll let them try it, I'm sure they'll love it!