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Don't forget to get asparagus before spring is over

By Amy Wilde

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, May 1 2012 4:34 p.m. MDT

Grilled asparagus can be delicious in the spring time.

Amy Wilde

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Say the word "asparagus" and wait for the “ahhhhs” to follow for this most beloved spring vegetable.

Put grilled asparagus next to a fluffy pile of garlic mashed potatoes and a petite sirloin steak and your dinner will scream aristocrat.

Take a bit of asparagus and fill your body with a variety of vitamins and nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K (great for promoting healthy bones), folic acid and potassium. There are other benefits too: Fitsugar.com lists asparagus as a natural diuretic and says it may reduce water retention during PMS. Additionally, the high levels of folate asparagus help fight birth defects.

Here in the U.S. people are accustomed to seeing just the green variety of asparagus, but in Europe it is more common to have your plate dressed with white asparagus. The white hue comes from the growing process, and unlike the familiar green asparagus, white asparagus is developed underground. The website fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov describes the taste of raw white asparagus as having a "sweet nutty flavor".

There are as many ways to prepare asparagus as there are happy mouths to eat it. According to livestrong.com asparagus is “easy to prepare on the stove or grill. A one-cup serving of raw asparagus provides 3 grams of fiber, has only 27 calories and is virtually fat-free, making it a healthy choice.” So whether you boil, steam, grill, or bake it — make yourself some asparagus before springtime is gone.

Marinated Asparagus Spears

1 package of asparagus spears; washed in cool water with the tough ends snapped off

Marinade*:

1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh ground peppercorn (place the edge of a frying pan against whole peppercorn and crush it for the best flavor)

½ teaspoon garlic salt

Place all marinade ingredients as well as asparagus spears in a zip seal bag for two hours. Remove spears from zip seal bag and place on medium-high heat grill for 5-6 minutes or until desired tenderness is achieved.

*Marinade amounts may be altered based on preference of flavor.

— adapted by Amy Wilde

Amy Wilde is a writer living in Brigham City. She blogs at amywildeatmosphere.blogspot.com, follow her on twitter at wildeatmosphere or her email is wilde.amy@gmail.com.