This weekend is the celebration of Easter. In both Alberta and Saskatchewan, we are so grateful that all the COVID restrictions have been lifted, and families can gather in both churches and homes. On the Prairies, our spring is still looking like winter, but we know that soon the sun's heat will come and the dead ground will be reborn with life and new growth. Seeds that seem lifeless will be planted and spring forth into life. What a miracle it is that each seed, plant, and tree, though it appears dead now, will burst into life from an invisible life source that is stored within it. As we enter into the Easter holy week, it is a time to contemplate the reason that we have Easter. It is that Jesus, the very son of God, died a painful death on a cross as the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, and in three days he rose back to life so that anyone who truly believes this miraculous event, is seeking a new life and the forgiveness from sin will go to heaven. For the believer, that is filled with the Holy Spirt, is like the seed, and they will become an eternal unending life after this earthly life. We celebrate that our ticket to heaven has been bought and paid for, we only need to receive it by believing it in our heart and speaking it out with our mouth.
Easter week comes with many traditions. There are the traditions of the church, such as Lent, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday that cumulate in the Sunday morning Easter worship service. For children, coloring eggs, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and candy hunts are often part of the Easter tradition. Decorating with daffodils, tulips and pussy willows are favourites to welcome spring and Easter. There are also food traditions that may include hot cross buns, deviled eggs, ham or lamb with mint. Potatoes are often served in such recipes as scalloped potatoes, baked potatoes; oven-roasted cubed potatoes or potato salad. Asparagus is in season and it is a great vegetable to serve for Easter brunches or dinners. Yellow-coloured desserts such as lemon meringue pie, sponge cake, cheesecake and angel food cake with a buttercream icing come to mind when I think of Easter.
Asparagus is low in calories but filled with nutrients. It is high in vitamin K, folate, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, and selenium. Asparagus also contains a good amount of many other nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, many other B vitamins, potassium, vitamin E and zinc. Asparagus contains fiber and the prebiotic, inulin, which is important to gut health. Asparagus contains several health promoting antioxidants. Asparagus has been highly valued as a food and medicinal plant for over 2000 years. I love that asparagus is a perennial, that regrows back every spring.
1 – 2 pounds of asparagus
Lemon zest from half a lemon
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the asparagus spears on baking sheet or a cookie sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with lemon zest, salt and pepper. Roast for 9 – 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. As an alternate, the lemon can be eliminated, or the asparagus can be sprinkled with 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.