01 April 2016

A is for Asparagus

Hello and welcome. The first post is possibly the most difficult in a challenge- a long one will discourage readers and an uninteresting one will drive them away...

I am using my 2016 April AtoZ Blogging challenge to identify herbs and in the process increase my knowledge about herbs. The chosen ones will be herbs I have seen (in my city or in my travels) or used (as medicine or in cooking).

My memories of Asparagus are ancient dating to my school days (trust me, thats a long time ago) when we were served Asparagus soup at some hotel and I remember liking it a lot. Over the years, I have had to choose between umpteen soup varieties but the asparagus soup has never appeared before me again! Asparagus is now fairly commonly available in the bigger super markets in Pune but the price is discouraging. Growing them seemed to be a good option. This meant giving up some of the prized (sunny) spots in my balconies which are occupied by my Bonsai. A decision I dont regret as we now have source of fresh, chemical free herbs. :)

Here are a couple of images of my Asparagus.
The growing plants
Tiny seedlings from Asparagus seeds


























Asparagus officinalis or Garden Asparagus is said to be native to the Middle East and the Mediterranean but is now naturalised in India. It has thread like delicate leaves and I am waiting for my plant to flower. According to this website, the flowers are small and hard to see and are attractive to bees. Asparagus officinalis belongs to the Asparagaceae family. Here is a link to the key to the Asparagaceae family .

Another variety is the Asparagus racemosus also called Shatavari. This has huge medicinal properties especially for women's health.

Here is a Pasta and Roasted Asparagus made by a dear friend. She says that Asparagus is an easy vegetable to cook with and needs minimum preparation. Just blanch/ steam / saute it and add sauce. Alternatively roast in the oven and season as desired. Viola, a healthy tasty meal for you! 
Pasta and Roasted Asparagus by Vishakha

Aerva lanata is a yet another "A" herb that I was able to identify - also called Mountain Knot Grass. I have seen it in Orissa and was flowering in mid January. The white flowers stood out against the almost bare soil and this is what it looked like...
April AtoZ, herbs, aerva lanata




Do you have an Asparagus recipe to share?

Tomorrow, I have an interesting herb for you.
Till then, Happy Blogging!
:)

19 comments:

Seena said...

I love Asparagus... don't find it too much here though. Great post. :)

http://travellers-compass.blogspot.in/2016/04/atozchallenge-2016-is-for-anxiety.html

Shalini said...

Love Asparagus on my dishes. Would love to grow them too. I haven't heard of Aerva lanata before. What type of spice is it? Can we add them to the Indian curries?

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Archana said...

Thank you Seena

Archana said...

Shalini, Aerva lanata is not for cooking. Just one of the plants I had identified... Going over to your blog :)

Susan Scott said...

I love asparagus! I just put it in a pot, bring to boil and switch off with the lid on. A little butter when drained, salt and pepper and I'm a happy gal!

http://www.gardenofedenblog.com

Ramya Rao said...

I love asparagus. Awesome if its well cooked. And a lot of research out there gal!Well written and aptly pictured.

Anoosha said...

Great Post ! Before , All I knew I was that Asparagus is something You eat but Now I guess I know More Than that.All Thanks to You :)

Happy to A to Zing :)

Wendy said...

I've found I like asparagus more as I get older although I probably prefer it overcooked compared to my hubby. Interesting post.

Timothy Brannan said...

This should be a fun one! Looking forward to seeing what you post all month!

Tim
--
Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
2015 A to Z of Adventure!
http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

AS a teenager, I babysat for the children of a chef. We live in upstate New York, and this family had wild asparagus growing by the roadside. We'd just pick it and eat it, sometimes without even cooking it first.

I planted asparagus seeds when my children were small, and we had it for several years.

Yesterday, I made a sauteed shrimp and vegetable couscous dish with sesame ginger sauce. I'll be having the rest of that tonight (my now-big kids don't want any, and my Accomplice, ironically, is a chef). I'll be sad, after, because that's the last of the asparagus for this week.

I wish I could send some to all my Indian friends. While not exactly inexpensive here, it's readily available fresh in early spring, and frozen year round.

Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
@shanjeniah from
shanjeniah's Lovely Chaos

Debbie D. said...

How great that you can grow your own! I enjoy asparagus, just steamed, with a little pepper and butter,

Archana said...

Thank you Ramya. I must read up about Asparagus...

Archana said...

Thanks for stopping by Anoosha. So happy that you found something new to read here :)

Archana said...

Thanks for stopping by Wendy. I am still trying to 'like'asparagus.. :)

Archana said...

Thank you for your kind words Timothy. :)

Archana said...

Shan, your recipie sounds quite simple to make.. I should try it out. Thanks again! :)

Archana said...

Debbie, I must try out your suggestion for Asparagus... Somehow I am not a big fan. Thanks for stopping by :)

therealdaniel.com said...

Asparagus is delicious. My wife does a beautiful job of preparing "fresh" asparagus. Maybe I should research the areas markets and coops for truly fresh asparagus. It is oh so delicious.

Archana said...

Thank you Daniel! I am motivated to include asparagus in our menus more often ;)