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I love seeing the fresh green asparagus this time of year sprouting out of the ground. To me, the spears look like little soldiers popping up to fight off winter, as if to say, “Come enjoy, spring is finally here!” Especially after this winter on the east coast! I can eat asparagus every day this time of year.
Asparagus is Kid Friendly!
My favorite way to get kids to eat vegetables is to really engage them in getting to know the food. If you can, take them to a field where asparagus grows in early spring and see what they notice or what connections they make. I thought of soldiers this early spring when I saw them in the field. Or, as in the picture below, they look like they are friendly with each other. You can become like a child yourself and then engage your children in the preparation of the asparagus.
I have one grandson who balks at anything green on his plate. (Some of this is for good reason–greens are bitter and children naturally don’t like them.) However, after getting to know asparagus, he was eager to try it, and everyone who loves him was delighted to see him truly enjoy eating spear after spear. I don’t like to see children bribed to eat their vegetables, or to watch them choke veggies down. I couldn’t stand to be forced to eat something that gagged me!
Paul Pitchford, in his book Healing with Whole Foods, states that asparagus is warming and contains the diuretic asparagine (makes you pee), which everyone who has eaten asparagus certainly knows! Therefore, it is good for the kidneys and can help cleanse the arteries of cholesterol. So after a long winter of heavy foods, asparagus is a great cleanser for the spring.
My Simple Recipe for Kid-Friendly Asparagus
One of my favorite ways to cook asparagus, especially for kids, is to lightly roast it and then drizzle with fresh lemon juice and sea salt.
To prepare the asparagus, I break off the bottom inch (which is tough). Next, sprinkle the spears with a small amount of olive oil and lay them out on a stainless steel baking sheet.
You probably know that aluminum baking sheets should be avoided, as aluminum in your diet has been implicated in several different health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease (and the nonstick variety is even worse!).
Next, I roast the asparagus at a high heat (400ish), watching it closely. The key is not to overcook! I can’t emphasize this enough–if you do (and I have), it will be mush and it won’t be tasty to children or adults! I found that 7 minutes at 400 degrees was just right for my oven. You can experiment and see what works for your oven and taste. After the asparagus is just slightly tender, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and a little sea salt. I then let the kids just pick up the spears and munch!
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