Spring is here and so begins our “Spring Foods” blog series! This season we will be featuring some of Jen’s favourite spring vegetables and demonstrating the versatility of each ingredient by creating a soup, a snack and a meal from it!
What better way to celebrate the blossoming spring season than to focus on a vegetable in the Lily family! Asparagus might not be the first vegetable to come to mind when preparing a meal for your child, but this uncommon choice is actually a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals. These green goodies are quick and easy to prepare and since it can be served as a purée or finger food, asparagus can stay on the menu as your child develops.
Asparagus might be more famous for its aromatic side effects, but it is low calorie vegetable that is a good source of vitamins and minerals and provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits- which are some of the best risk reducers for common chronic problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
The asparagus stalk provides a wide variety of essential nutrients, including vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. It also supplies a good amount of dietary fiber, rutin, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin K, riboflavin, manganese, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. Extremely green asparagus is very high in vitamin C. And if that isn’t enough, just 5 spears of steamed asparagus contain 2 grams of protein!
Asparagus is typically sold by the bunch. You should purchase a bunch that contains spears that are relatively uniform in thickness for even cooking times. Be sure to check that the flowered tip is firm and not mushy or soft.
Thin asparagus does not require peeling, but thick stems can be tough and stringy if they are not peeled. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer stem (not the tip!). Give the stems a rinse under the tap to remove any residue.
Asparagus is best cooked whole and chopped after cooking. A good sign that your asparagus is cooked is that the stems reach a bright green color…be careful though, it only takes a few minutes!
There are a variety of ways to use asparagus. Steamed or sautéed stems make a great side dish for fish or steak. Add chopped up stems either hot or cold to your favorite salads! They can also be puréed to create scrumptious soups!
Saucepan or Steamer: Cook fresh asparagus in a small amount of boiling water until tender. Fresh asparagus will be crisp-tender in 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir-Fry: Cut spears diagonally in 1/2 inch pieces, leaving tips whole. Stir-fry pieces in butter or hot oil, in a skillet or wok at medium high heat. Stir constantly until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
Fresh asparagus should be kept clean, cold and covered with the ends trimmed and washed in warm water. For best quality, seal in moisture-proof wrapping, refrigerate and use within 2-3 days.
If serving as a finger food for older babies, make sure to cut the asparagus into small pieces to prevent it from becoming a choking hazard.
Posted on April 11, 2012
Most baby foods taste really gross. Baby Gourmet tastes delicious.
Enya and baby London