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© Antigo Farmers' Market, Inc.
Antigo, Wisconsin
 
 
All about Asparagus
   
History
Asparagus has been used as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavor, diuretic properties and more. 

It is pictured as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 BC. There is plenty of documentation of its use in Greek and Roman times. It was hardly noticed in England and Germany until the 16th century. The finest texture and delicate flavor is in the tips. Described as "points d'amour" (love tips) they were served as a delicacy to Madame de Pompadour. It was not until around 1850 that Asparagus became available in the United States.

Nutrition
Asparagus is low in calories and sodium. It is a good source of a number of essential vitamins and minerals and a very good source of dietary fiber. Green asparagus is eaten worldwide. However, in many European Countries, white asparagus is more common and the "asparagus season" is elevated to a yearly special event. To cultivate white asparagus, the shoots are covered with soil as they grow, preventing photosynthesis.

Storage
To quote Edward C. Smith, author of the Vegetable Gardener's Bible,

"You've got to be kidding. You don't store asparagus, you eat asparagus immediately after cooking or sooner, if you count the spears munched right in the garden."

But if you must store it, wrap it in a damp towel, place in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator.

Cooking
Because of its delicate nature, it is best to cook asparagus for a brief time whether you boil steam or grill it. Eaten raw, the flavor resembles that of fresh green peas.

 

Here is a simple recipe
for an elegant side dish