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sulphite allergy - asparagus and mushrooms

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Hello friends,

My sweetie has a sulphite allergy/sensitivity, which means that he has to steer clear of mushrooms, onions and asparagus. He really misses asparagus (the canned kind) on toast and I'm wondering - could I get fresh asparagus and try to do something that would be as good as tinned asparagus on toast?

I guess my main questions are:

Would he be ok with fresh asparagus? I get the idea that the problem is mostly because it's tinned, where sulphites are concerned.

Could I make the fresh asparagus approximate tinned asparagus somehow? Which is probably a bit of a funny question on Chowhound, but the heart wants but the heart wants...maybe I could steam it into oblivion or something... do you think pickled asparagus might be ok?

Also, a friend suggested he might be able to eat organic mushrooms and that maybe I should try growing our own mushrooms - do you think this would make them sulphite safe?

I have googled it and googled it, but my search terms must be off - I can't find any info that would help me with this!

Many thanks in advance :)

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  1. >>>
    Would he be ok with fresh asparagus?
    <<<

    The sulfites in asparagus have nothing to do with steaming. They occur naturally and you are stuck with them. So the immediate answer, AFAIK, is, "No, you can't."

    >>>
    ...a friend suggested he might be able to eat organic mushrooms and that maybe I should try growing our own mushrooms - do you think this would make them sulphite safe?
    <<<

    Again, 'fraid not. The sulfites occur naturally.

    >>>
    Could I make the fresh asparagus approximate tinned asparagus somehow? ....maybe I could steam it into oblivion or something...
    <<<

    Overcooking it will definitely make it similar to tinned, but you are still stuck with the sulfites. Sorry.

    1 Reply
    1. re: al b. darned

      Thanks Al - it's good to know.
      I'd rather not find those things out by making him sick!

    2. The next morning...

      I got to thinking about this, and my mind keeps coming back to, "Why would she want to do this?"

      You didn't say how severe his allergy is but why take a chance on giving him an "attack"? Unfortunately some of the childhood favorites, comfort foods, etc. have to go on the "not allowed" list.

      I don't mean this unkindly, but why risk it? Why not work with him to help him discover the world of delicious things out there that are sulfite-free?

      A few years before we met, DW had what she believes to be a fairly mild allergic reaction to peanuts. Subsequent tests were either inconclusive or negative (she's had several tests). Up to that point peanut butter sandwiches were on her short list of things she would make on her own. She has since eliminated peanuts from her diet and avoids anything "processed in a plant that also handles peanuts." (Even tho the allergists have told her the last step was unnecessary.)

      Since we met I have also adhered to her restrictions. Tho I think she is being a bit over cautious, I also feel, "Why risk it?" There is just too much I like about her, and I wouldn't want to feed her anything that might cause her to snuff it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: al b. darned

        Well, he says allergy, but maybe it's more of an insensitivity (not certain of the terminology), since it's not a life threatening reaction, just a rather unpleasant one (um, gastrically).

        I guess it's more that I know he misses these things, particularly the asparagus on toast, and if there's a way I could eliminate what doesn't agree with him so that he could enjoy it again, I'd like to know about it.

        I remember my Mum discovering lacteeze tablets after years of not being able to eat ice cream due to lactose intolerance. It was such a huge treat for her, even now. She won't waste her precious lacteeze on anything less than ice cream, it's just not worth it! So I guess that's kinda where I'm coming from. I also tend to express my love through my cooking, I guess this idea was just one of the manifestations of my affection.

        Certainly if there was a chance it was life threatening, I wouldn't even consider it!

        1. re: ursy_ten

          An allergy can turn life-threatening. An allergy can be minor, minor, minor, and then BAM a trip to the emergency room and a lifetime carrying an epipen.

          An allergy is not at all the same thing as lactose intolerance. I wish it was. I'd eat what I'm allergic to and just suffer. But I like living.

          Please don't get me wrong, I so admire what you're trying to do. I feel the same way about cooking as showing love.

          1. re: Vetter

            Thanks for your advice Vetter, it's important to know these things!
            Guess I'll just have to find some "close enough" substitutes :)

      2. I wonder if you could use the stems of broccolini to make asparagus with toast. I think it has a similar taste/texture. I don't know if broccolini has sulphites, though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chowser

          I think broccolini is ok. Thanks for the suggestion! I might give it a whirl!