Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Smell Asparagus!

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I mention asparagus? For me, it’s not how much I enjoy those tasty green (or white) spears, though I can think of few other vegetables that I like as much as asparagus. Does your mind automatically go through the long list of all the health benefits associated with a diet filled with asparagus? Probably not. The first thing that comes to my mind, besides the guilt associated with my inability to add adequate amounts of asparagus to my already veggie-loaded plate, is the, er, um, ahem…smell. That’s right, the odor wafting up from the, ahh, you know, toilet…that aromatic red flag nudging my nostrils reminding me that, yes, I remember now, I had asparagus for dinner.

Could it be that funky stench is the reason why asparagus, while highly regarded in some cultures, is not as popular as it should be? Perhaps, like that pungent bulb of flavor, garlic, it is eschewed rather than embraced due to a particular lingering aftereffect of the somewhat smelly kind? Well, I’d like to change all that, melt away those stinky misconceptions and celebrate this wonderfully tasty and surprisingly nutritionally robust vegetable.


* asparagus is a member of the lily family
* plants are usually not harvested for the first three years
* after harvesting, the spears grow into ferns which produce red berries
* a spear can grow up to ten inches in 24 hours
* the larger diameter spears are considered better quality
* California produces the most asparagus in the United States (over 70%)
* asparagus is one of the most nutritionally balanced veggies

Now, what about that smell? Do you know why your urine has a distinct odor after consuming asparagus? Before I get into that, let’s look at the nutritional benefits of asparagus first.


* is an excellent source of folacin (folic acid)
* is a good source of fiber and potassium
* is a significant source of thiamin and vitamin B6
* is rich in rutin (a bioflavinoid)
* has no fat or cholesterol
* is very low in calories

While I did not produce a video about the wonders of asparagus, I do have one of me eating just about everything else:


Every spring the asparagus is celebrated at a huge festival a few miles south of where I live. The Stockton Asparagus Festival is one of the most popular food fests on the west coast. While enjoying all things asparagus, you can munch on asparaburritos, asparagus salsa and nachos, and for dessert, asparaberry shortcake. Can you imagine what those port-a-johns smell like?

And speaking of that smell. First off, not all of us are affected (or afflicted) with that unique odor during urination after consuming asparagus, though I don’t know too many people who are not. One theory has to do with enzymes and how the amino acids in this veggie break down…blahblahblah. Here is a more thorough scientific explanation.

Anymore questions? No? Good. I say ignore the smell and consume massive quantities of this delicious and nutrient-rich vegetable as often as possible. I know I’m going to.

Until next time…




Anonymous said...

I am a happy member of the asparagus club myself. I'm sure you have tried it grilled? Served hot or cold, it's great! Thanks for all your tips!

Anonymous said...

I love asparagus, and we used to have a small patch of them at my childhood home. My kids like asparagus, too, but two of them only eat the tips.

Go figure....................:)

Anonymous said...

A love hate vegetable and very expensive, more people would go for its unique taste if cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Loves me my asparagus! Either boiled, grilled or in soup, which I had yesterday. I haven't noticed the "aroma," though. Maybe I'm one of those unaffected people.

Holy moly! They can grow 10 inches in a day? That's amazing.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE asparagus for breakfast with scrambled eggs! Yum! And I too, must be one of the unaffected "peeple". If it were cheaper to buy here I'd eat it every day.

Sandee said...

I've been to the Stockton Asparagus festival many times. It is indeed a wonderful venue.

We are having asparagus for dinner tonight. Yummy.

Have a terrific day Mike. :)

Anonymous said...

That asparagus is attacking your face. I personally don't like asparagus, but the healthy benefits are incredible as I understand it.

Aren't those good with hollandaise?

Oh! I started a contest on my site where I'm giving 10k in EC credits to one person. Details are on my site if you'd like to enter.

Daisy said...

Wow, they grow so fast you could probably actually see them growing!

Susan Blake said...

Asparagus makes me think of spring - and I love both! Grew it on our farm when I was kid. My grandma made asparagus everything - good thing I liked it!

Jackie said...

Oh it's one of my all time fave veggies. I love to eat it even raw.

Maybe I'm just getting old and losing my sense of smell..lol!!! but, I don't think it's a stinky veggie at all.

You just gotta' love Asparagus!!:-)))

Oh yes and where we live it is also an easy veggie to grow, It's an annual and come backs every year in the early spring...yummy!!!

Anonymous said...

As much as I love, love, love asparagus, I did not know all those fun facts!

Here's the thing...eating food that's good for you CAN mean it tastes good too. I love aparagus in omelettes with dill, baked ever to briefly in the oven with garlic, lemon and pepper, grilled on the barbeque, and in soup. Yes, soup!

Where do you dig up all those useful bits of information?!

Anonymous said...

I am always looking for some asparagus insight! I have found plenty! Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm! I LOVE asparagus! My mom didn't, and never cooked it for us when I was growing up, but I discovered it on my own as an adult.
Glad I did! It's soooo good, especially when grilled! ;)


I love asparagus (raw and fresh is my favorite). Never heard of the urine thing but very interesting!

Unknown said...

dan: grilled, steamed, even raw...

lisa: they look cool in the garden when they turn to ferns

martin: i like to eat it seasonally here when it is fresh and cheap

kathy: it is amazing, huh? as for the odor...is it just me?

casbah: great way to start the day

Sandee: yummy is right...and i'm gonna try to make it to the festival this year

wayne: yes, it did attack my face, and i have the green bruises to prove it

daisy: do cats like asparagus?

suzen: ahhh, could spring be around the corner...that's some long corner...

shinade: those plants keep coming back for years. and, that smell thing again: is it, really, just me who notices a smell?

miki: i need to try some asparagus soup, sounds good. as for where i find all these useful tips...hmmm, the internet is my friend...

mark: is that like esp?

fitness diva: looks like preparing it grilled is the most popular...

heidi: raw dipped in your favorite dipping sauce...sound good...and, again, is it just me?

thanks for all the great comments, but i'm starting to get a complex about this smelly urine thing. i checked with a few friends and agreed that they, too, have noticed a funky odor emitting from them while urinating, so...maybe it's just a west coast thing? oh, well....



Anonymous said...

I've only had asparagus once (because I didn't really like the flavour) but I didn't notice malodorous urine the next day. Is it really so bad or do I just have anosmia? :D

Bagman and Butler said...

I had asparagus last night but didn't know any of this. Now that I've read your blog, I'm in mortal fear of the call of nature that is due shortly this morning.

Anonymous said...

I love asparagus but don't get to eat too much of it. My kids do not like them. Neither does my husband, sadly!

Unknown said...

Maybe if you just drink more water the smell won't be as strong? Most people don't drink enough water anyway. We think because it's liquid that it's equivalent. Not true.

Anonymous said...

This is too hilarious. We literally must eat the same foods at the same time. LOL! I just came here to see what mischief you are up to and here you are talking about asparagus. AND I am sitting on the couch with my lap top eating...guess what? I kid you NOT! I just took a break and very lightly stir fried some asparagus, a small zucchini and some red onion. Only stirred it long enough to heat barely heat it in the olive oil and garlic. It's still crunchy and SOOOOOOOO good.

I laughed over this video of you just EATING and EATING and EATING. So funny. Especially the part where you start laughing while eating the spuds.

A delight mike,

Anonymous said...

Mmm I love asparagus. My dad had some good recipes for wrapping it in prosciutto or slicing a boiled egg on top... I just grill mine in the George Foreman. And it's super good in sushi as well!

Dwacon said...

I have a jar of pickled asparagus that I put into omlettes

lunaticg said...

Hi mike!
Thanks for this post, I love to eat asparagus. Nyum-nyum...

Unknown said...

solomon: i thought everyone noticed it, but from these comments, maybe it's not as prevalent as i thought...and, yes, it is pungent

butler: good luck with that

evelyn: try dicing it up and sneaking in into soups or stews...

angelika: i will try that, thanks

robin: great minds think, and eat, alike! and may i add: anything and everything tastes great with garlic and olive oil...

sagan: yes, all good...that prosciutto one was served at my wedding

dwacon: my mouth waters at the thought

lunaticg: nyum-nyum right back at ya



Anonymous said...


I love asparagus also. Funny enough, I never knew, or experienced the "issues" that you've mentioned in your post--although I don't doubt that they're true.

Be that as it may, if I'm not mistaken, I think Asparagus is considered the "King" of vegetables.

It's always a great addition for most meals, as a side dish or part of it.

Price aside, it's one of my favorite vegetables.

kRiZcPEc said...

thanks for sharing the tip and the video. drop by until next time...lol.

Paul Eilers said...

Maybe you can take some garlic, along with the asparagus, in order to offset the smell.



Unknown said...

david: yes, asparagus is quite loaded with lots of good stuff...i try to buy mine on sale in season

kriz: yes, until next time...peace

paul: garlic can offset any smell...


Dragonblogger said...

Great article, I love asparagus, it is right up there with Avocado as one of my two favorite vegetables. Grilled is great, boiled, but remember you offset the healthy benefits if you pour hollandaise sauce on top :)

Anonymous said...

I hope the weekend was fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your blog and will be visiting often. I just discovered asparagus about a year or 2 ago and I LOVE them Who knew? Oh and yeah, I thought it was just me with that whole urine smell thingy. lol

TO your health,

Cascia Talbert said...

I love asparagus! My dad grows it back home in Wisconsin so I grew up eating it as a kid. I love steaming it with a little garlic. Yum!

Unknown said...

dragonblogger: agreed, i don't use sauces or even butter. try using just olive oil and sea salt. and i love avocado...

mark: it was, and too short as usual...

lisa: thanks for the nice comment, and, at last, someone else who notices the "urine smell thingy"

cascia: steamed with garlic sounds yum indeed.


***please check out my new comment page at my video site, livelife365.com

Faisal Admar said...

I love asparagus Mike. Fried with soy sauce :)

Simply delicious!

Karen Henry said...

Ironically enough, I happened to see your post this evening after having asparagus for dinner. I love it, and I've never been bothered by the smell at all.

Karen Henry

Unknown said...

faisal: fried with soy...my mouth waters

karen: asparagus goes well with irony...



Unknown said...

Every time I see this top picture with the asparagus I keep thinking you're holding a snake ... what's all that about. Mind over matter - no - matter over mind Lol!!

j said...

Asparagus makes me think of spring (and I'm clearly not the only one). I'd love to grow it, but that will have to wait until I have a more permanent yard situation. Thanks for the low-down (and I love it roasted at high heat and drizzled with olive oil).

p.s. -- it's not just you.

Unknown said...

polly: it is that rare species: boa asparagus

jennifer: me too, with olive oil is the best. and, bless you, for a while i thought it was just me...

peace (spring is right around the corner)


viagra online said...

Hello boys!!
That good and important that you quite like asparagus, it seems very nice information about it and I would like to know more about it thanks. I like this blog.