Asparagus: A Delicacy?
Asparagus is native to Eurasia and was regarded as a delicacy by the Romans. The most renowned type of asparagus is the Argenteuil asparagus which is cultivated in France.
French asparagus can be peeled and cooked, and served together with a creamy mayonnaise-type sauce, or it can be used on Pizzas.
Asparagus root contains compounds called steroidal glycosides, which may help reduce inflammation. In fact, some Chinese herbalists have used it to treat arthritis.
Asparagus also contains useful amounts of calcium, magnesium and iodine and is an excellent source of folic acid. Moreover, vitamins A, C and E are also well supplied. Just one-half cup of cooked asparagus provides about 25 percent of the RDA for folic acid and more than 80 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.
Buying the Best Asparagus
Asparagus stalks should be green with compact, closed tips and tender. Avoid flat stalks or stalks that have a lot of white in them.
Do not buy asparagus if they are soaking in water.
Asparagus will toughen rapidly, and should be used soon after purchase.
The best time of year to purchase asparagus is March to June.
Refrigeration will help retain the B and C vitamins, but wrap the ends in moist paper towel, then seal in a plastic bag.
Asparagus Food Facts
- White asparagus is planted under mounds of soil, blocking sunlight and reducing the plans ability to produce chlorophyll.
- If ridges form on stems of asparagus, this is a sign of age and soaking in ice water will help revive it.
- The water that vegetables are cooked in will be high in vitamins and minerals. Use for soups and stews.
- To revive limp asparagus, try placing them in a tall pot with ice water in the refrigerator for thirty minutes.
- Always open asparagus cans from the bottom or you may break the tips. However, read the can carefully as they may be canned upside down.
- The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that eating asparagus prevented bee stings.
- To tenderize the asparagus stalks, try peeling the stalks with a potato peeler up to the bottom of the tips.
- Asparagus contains a sulphur compound that may cause a strange odor in a person's urine. This happens in approximately 40 percent of the population and is harmless.
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