I moved to a new place last fall. One of the toughest things to say goodbye to in my previous garden was my asparagus patch. Over the years, I had grown loads and loads of delicious asparagus, but sadly, there was no good way to transport that patch to my new place.
I’ve got a much smaller garden space in my new home, but asparagus is too important of a crop to leave out. So I bought a bunch of plants this spring and planted them. I wasn’t get anything this year, except maybe some beautiful asparagus ferns at the end of the season, but I’m hoping the plants settle in and get happy enough to produce even a small crop next year.
In the meantime, I have to look back at my previous success with asparagus…
The home garden is already showing signs of activity. Overwintered kale and arugula plants are springing back to life, enough for a quick salad. Cool weather seeds that I’ve sown early: peas, turnips, radishes, broccoli raab, and others are sprouting. But nothing says the gardening season is here like my patch of homegrown asparagus taking off!
Midway through the season, I have so much asparagus that I just don’t know what to do with them all. My friends don’t want anymore and I can’t bear to throw them into the compost pile. So I pickle them…a really easy process that ensures I’ve got delicious asparagus year-round.
Several bunches of asparagus spears
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups water
Garlic cloves, peeled
Salt (1 teaspoon per quart-sized Mason jar. Use less for smaller jars.)
DOES YOUR PEE SMELL WHEN YOU EAT ASPARAGUS?
Asparagus has a sulfur-containing compound identified by scientists as methyl mercaptan. A colorless gas, this compound is also found in blood, feces, garlic, eggs, cheese and even skunk secretions. Another ingredient found in asparagus is asparagine. Present in foods like dairy products, seafood, poultry, fish and nuts, this amino acid is known to have a distinctive smell when heated. To metabolize both methyl mercaptan and asparagine, your body needs to break these compounds down and it’s this breakdown that’s responsible for your urine’s strange smell.
Since both methyl mercaptan and asparagine are associated with the sense of smell, there is debate over which ingredient is actually responsible for the asparagus-urine phenomenon. It could be one, or both.
Many people claim that, regardless of asparagus consumption, their urine does not smell. There are multiple theories about that as well. The first claims that everyone’s urine is in fact affected by asparagus, but only about half of the population have the specific gene that is required to smell the change. On the other hand, the second theory states that only half of the world’s population has the gene that’s required to break down the compounds found in asparagus and, if the body doesn’t break them down, no smell is emitted. In fact, one study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that only 46 percent of British people tested produced the odor while 100 percent of French people tested did. So whatever the reason, asparagus will forever be known as the vegetable that makes your urine smell strange.