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Trivia and Asparagus Soup

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring is here. The 2018 spring equinox officially starts at 10:15 this morning. For those of you who might have forgotten, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere is the date when day and night are almost the same length with each lasting about 12 hours. And, Easter Sunday is always the second Sunday after the spring equinox.

Here in high altitude Colorado, spring is way too early this, and most every year to seriously think about fresh berries, crocus, lilacs, tulips, daffodils, and mountain meadows in bloom. We are mostly thinking about steaming bowls of hot soup, spring skiing, San Luis Valley Sandhill Crane migration viewing, late-winter brisk hikes under bright blue skies, and snow capped mountains.

So, we chose to feature nutrient-dense asparagus today, since it's always one of the first seasonal fresh vegetables available in most major supermarkets.

Three nutrient-based reasons why eating more asparagus makes sense 

1. It's low calorie / high fiber (portion and weight control)

2. It's antioxidant rich and includes a large amount of the amino acid asparagine, making it a natural diuretic for most people. It's suggested by many that a diet rich in asparagus can help prevent painful and pesky urinary tract infections. 

3. It's rich in vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, and protein. 

A New Favorite Early Spring Cream of Asparagus  Soup (with almost no cream)

Ingredients for two servings

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 (1-pound) bunch asparagus, woody stems snapped off and composted, spears cut into 1-inch pieces

1/3 cup low-fat sour cream (for swirling through presentation)

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped chives


Melt butter in a medium pot over medium low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, add asparagus and simmer gently until potatoes and asparagus are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Set aside to cool.

Carefully transfer cool soup to blender in batches and purée until smooth (holding down the blender lid covered with a dish towel). Return soup to pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper. Ladle piping hot soup into bowls, swirl with sour cream, garnish with chopped chives and serve.


Ellen Troyer, with David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff

Asparagus / pee science you might find fun to know 

A personal question: Does your urine smell different after you eat asparagus? 

Scientists believe the asparagus odor is created by a methanethiol molecule made by everyone when asparagus is broken down and metabolized. But not all people can smell this volatile sulfur odor, and for some genetic marker super smellers, it can be overpowering. 

Interestingly, the researchers at 23andMe have now identified genetic markers linked to the likelihood of being able to smell the asparagus-related odor in urine. According to them, my genetic marker rs4481887 is located near my OR2M7 gene, which contains instructions for the protein olfactory receptor that detects the asparagine molecule odor. 

Between 25 and 40 percent of the US population are suggested to not carry this genetic marker. Science refers to these people as Asparagus Anosmia.