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Eat Your Asparagus … For Dessert!

Eat Your Asparagus … For Dessert!

Heralding the coming of spring, asparagus — available in green, white or purple varieties — is often regarded as a delicacy and depicted as far back as an Egyptian frieze in 3000 B.C. The velvety, water-rich vegetable is also known for its high vitamin and mineral content (B6; C; E; K; calcium; magnesium; zinc; folate; potassium),as a great source of fiber, and for its diuretic properties. Greeks and Romans ate it fresh in season and dried it to enjoy in colder weather, with the Romans said to freeze it high up in the Alps. But how about upping the ante on asparagus appreciation by using it in desserts?!

First, however, in 200 A.D., the ancient Greek physician Galen was known to use asparagus medicinally, and perhaps the earliest record of cooking can be found in the oldest surviving book of recipes: Apicius’ De re coquinaria, Book III, in the third century A.D. In Medieval times, one literary source identified asparagus’ aphrodisiacal qualities. And, utilized as catnip for lovers or not, history tells us it made its way to the U.S. around 1850.

Current nutritionists and health food authorities cite the A-list asparagus’ ability to neutralize ammonia that contributes to fatigue, and say it can protect small blood vessels from rupturing. Its springtime significance is not lost on creative cooks who steam and top coveted spears with traditional lemon and Hollandaise, wrap them in bacon, sauté them in olive oil and garlic, or marinate them in balsamic vinegar — served alongside a tender Easter lamb, of course.

But what about dessert? If it’s time to change up the usual methods of consumption, or perhaps just tempt those picky, prickly little ones to eat their vegetables, these uncommon green treats will do the trick and surely keep them coming back for more — throughout National Asparagus Month and well into the rest of the year!

Asparagus Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese icing
Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups grated fresh asparagus (about I lb.), drained
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 to 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped pecans

Icing:
1 pkg. (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 ¾ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. Add oil, eggs, asparagus, pineapple, orange peel, and vanilla; mix well. Fold in pecans. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For icing, beat cream cheese and sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Add orange peel, vanilla, and enough milk until icing reaches desired consistency. Spoon over cake, allowing icing to drip down sides.

Asparagus Ice Cream
Ingredients:
7 ounces fresh asparagus
2 cups cream
2/3 cup sugar (divided into 1/3 and 1/3)
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons rum
Juice from one lemon
Mint for garnish

Directions:
Peel asparagus up to the base of the tips and cut into small pieces. Combine with cream, and half the sugar, and simmer 8 minutes. Beat egg yolks with remaining sugar until foamy. Add to asparagus mixture, puree, and put through a strainer. Stir over ice water until cool. Add rum and lemon juice; freeze in ice cream maker.

13 comments

1 Allison Dickey { 10.13.14 at 6:26 pm }

sugar does not cause diseases, or hyperactivity. It will cause you to gain weight if eaten in excess. And, the more sugar you add to things the more you need to taste the sweetness. The less sugar you use the more you will learn to enjoy the sweetness of natural foods.

2 emaegf { 05.15.14 at 9:31 pm }

FYI to those who think eating sugar causes diabetes. It Does NOT ! Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease has nothing to do with what you eat. And as for Type 2 diabetes few who develop that from how they eat. Case in point – 2 Veterans who served their country, this country, during Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange developed Type 2 Diabetes as a result. The 16 year old track star vegan who never touched junk food her whole life including anything with sugar developed Type 2 diabetes and she’s underweight. There is so much more to who and how then just your misguided ‘if you want sugar’ misinformation. You researched for yourselves what is best for You let the rest of us to it as well or maybe you would like others to come force their views on your life?

3 Rick McInnis { 05.02.14 at 11:16 am }

I agree also. I feel one of the biggest problems with life right now is people interjecting their personal opinions and thinking everyone else should follow their advice. Please live your life the way you want to but don’t tell us how to live ours.

4 Margarita { 05.01.14 at 10:40 am }

Why tell Phyllis to take a chill pill? She won’ t touch sugar so she dang sure won’ take a pill!

5 Tootie { 05.01.14 at 8:41 am }

I say feel free to share whatever recipes you would like to share. Everyone then has an option of whether they want to try it after they read the ingredients. I agree with person above- opinions are like buttholes- everyone has one- why should they only put recipes on here of what 1 single person prefers? I say read the recipes- if you like- keep, if it’s not for your lifestyle then move on and comment nice things about the ones you do like. Have a spectacular day- I must finish my coconut cake now!

6 Todd { 05.01.14 at 12:34 am }

What about reviews from those who have made it and ideas on tweaking it? Phylis, I didnt read this for your soapbox opinion. Everyone has one, just like an anus…and they usually stink. If you dont want to try it…don’t. Now, what would be helpful, is if someone tries to substitute bleached sugar for raw…or for low index agave….or if someone attempts with whole grain or gluten free. I would be interested to know how it worked for you.

7 June { 04.30.14 at 7:35 pm }

Joan Morris what is recipe on the chocolate cake? Sent to me @ grammy3t@gmail.com. Thank you!

8 Lisa { 04.30.14 at 5:15 pm }

Seriously…as long as you eat a healthy diet, and you don’t have a medical condition which prohibits sugar or flour, then go ahead and enjoy the occasional sweets!! I think these recipes look fun to try.

9 Joan Morris { 04.30.14 at 12:16 pm }

Phyllis, I think you need to take a chill pill. I am 78 and do not have diabetes or cancer and I love my sweets. I have a sweet treat every day, sometimes more than one. I have six healthy children and 11 grandchildren and 4 great-grands. All love their sweets and even sugar in their coffee. They’re all doing well, not over weight and healthy. Sometimes people carry things too far. Yesterday I made a chocolate cake that my mama made during the war when some items were very scarce and it so good and it has butter, sugar and real cream in it. Loved by all.

10 Linda antonich { 04.30.14 at 11:39 am }

I agree with Phyllis. why would I want to take something so healthy and cover it in sugar and cream and white flour, and feed it to my kids. Don’t kid yourself their not going to learn to love eating their veggies this way.

11 Diana Hughes { 04.30.14 at 10:58 am }

Phyllis you need to take a chill pill. No one is going to live forever. We all have to die of something. If everyone got cancer that ate sugar, we would all be totally FULL of cancer. It’s the additives mostly that is causing cancer. I am not going eat grass and raw veggies all my life, I am not a cow. They get cancer too. I enjoy sweets and if I want to enjoy life, I am going to eat some. If I die of cancer, so be it. I’ve lived a good life and enjoyed every sweet thing I’ve eaten, and I am not overweight, nor do I have cancer or diabetes. I just might try this cake for the heck of it, it sounds interesting. I love asparagus and eat a lot of it when it’s in season, cooked of course, but I do enjoy it raw in salads.

12 Phyllis Poole { 04.30.14 at 10:38 am }

Sugar is dangerous and detrimental to our well being. It uses up all the B vitamins. B vitamins are needed for much nutrition in our bodies and mainly for nerve health =msg! Niacin is a B and it is the menory vitamin=Alzheimers…….
Sugar causes much action from the pancreas, wearing it out and causes hyperglycemia =diabetes, hypoglycemia =low blood sugar.
Sugar is also all ACID and CANCER needs acid to survive. Alkaline kills cancer.
While knowing these facts, WHY keep giving recipes of desserts to tempt people to bad health.
Asparagus is such a good healthy food. Please give us good healthy recipes to try, like putting asparagus, chopped fine in salads. Cooking is detrimental to nutrition also, especially when all the fluid goes down the drain. Adelle Davis says in her books, the sewer is better fed sometimes than people! Earing raw is great and should be encouraged. Or at least cooked with very little water (non if microwaved and you believe that’s ok) and cooked only for a little tenderness.
Let’s read better recipes from now on!!!

13 CLARA COFFEY { 04.30.14 at 10:17 am }

My oven is on the blink right now but as soon as I get it fixed I am definitely going to try this and write a critique.

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