Fresh Ontario Asparagus is now making its way from the farm to markets for the rest of May and June. While it is often available outside of this time frame, the local and thin spears taste the best (in my opinion!) The vegetable is very versatile – it can be steamed, baked, grilled, and sautéed. The only problem for some may be the interesting smelling urine that occurs after eating asparagus.

Ever wonder why urine has that smell after eating asparagus? Or perhaps you have no clue what this smell is I am talking about even though asparagus is one of your favourite foods?

Digestion of asparagus produces methanethiol and S-methyl thioesters which are sulphur containing compounds responsible for the odour. Production of these compounds is a natural part of asparagus digestion and they are harmless. If you have not had the experience of smelling them, you are considered to have asparagus anosmia – genetically you don’t smell these compounds.

Regardless of ability to smell post-asparagus urine, try making some new asparagus recipes this spring while it is in season. I’ve added a few of my favourites here:

Chili Lime Asparagus

Asparagus and Potato Salad with Avocado Dressing

How nutritious is asparagus?


Asparagus has only 4 calories per spear and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fibre, protein, beta-carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium.


Fun Facts:

  • The name ‘asparagus’ comes from the Greek word for sprout or shoot
  • The shoots grow out of crowns that are planted 8 inches deep
  • In ideal conditions, a spear or shoot of asparagus can grow 25 cm or 10 inches in 24 hours!
  • A properly cared for crop will provide food for 15 years
  • Asparagus yields spears in the 2nd year of growth


For more info on asparagus: