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Asparagus – Do You Know These 8 Facts?

I must confess, I am a total asparagus fan and very excited that, finally, it is asparagus season again! It is one of my top 5 favorite vegetables and I like especially the green version. Here is my super delicious recipe for fried green asparagus. A true culinary delight and regional superfood through and through! Until the traditional end of the asparagus season on Saint John’s Eve, the 23rd of June, I will probably eat tons of it. 🙂

8 Facts about asparagus

  • Originally the power vegetables come from Southwest Asia and have been consumed there for more than 4,000 years. The ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks also knew that it is not only a delicacy but can also act as an aphrodisiac. An aphrodisiac increases lust or libido. With only an average of 18 kilocalories per 100 g, white asparagus is a true lightweight. In addition, it is one of the few vegetables that increase their nutrient content by slightly heating. The substances quercetin, lutein, and beta-carotene unfold their full potential.
  • Green asparagus is full of chlorophyll, the green plant pigment. Compared to the white one, the green has twice as many cell-protecting polyphenols, zinc, vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as calcium. The green variant even has up to 20 times more vitamin A, which is good for your skin! In addition, it has about 7 times as many antioxidants that protect us from aging. Plus, the spears generally contain many essential oils, minerals such as potassium, iron, and folic acid. Besides, it counts with about 94 % water content to the most water-rich vegetables.

6 to go

  • Long, thin asparagus spears have up to 100% more antioxidants than short, thick ones! Pink discoloration of white asparagus indicates a high level of rutin (antioxidant), which is particularly protective of the heart. Violet asparagus is particularly rich in anthocyanins (antioxidants). These violet pigments are among the most effective protection against UV rays and cancer. In addition, the spears are full of fiber, which is very welcome feeding for our healthy intestinal flora.
  • White asparagus has actually been a coincidence product! In order to protect the spears from vermin and to store heat, clay cans were placed over the sensitive spears. The deprivation of light causes the asparagus to remain white. If it has a purple discoloration on the heads, they have gotten some sunlight. In fact, in addition to the white and green, there are purple, wild and dark purple, almost black asparagus. The latter should not be cooked, otherwise, it will lose its color and become dark green. Especially roasted, it unfolds its nutty aroma best. The different colors are not always different sorts. It just shows how much light the plant got! The green dye only develops when it comes into contact with sunlight.

Things to take care of while processing and cooking

  • You do not really have to peel fresh green asparagus. It is sufficient only to completely cut the dried ends of the asparagus spears by 1-2 cm. On the other hand, white asparagus always has to be peeled because the woody peel makes it otherwise unswallowable. The easiest way is peeling head to the end. Personally, it is always easiest for me to hold the head of it and put the rest on the palm or forearm while peeling.
  • The cooking time for the white one is about 15-20 minutes. The green one must be cooked for about 8 minutes or fried for 10-12 minutes with medium heat. After 35-45 minutes (depending on the thickness) in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius, the spears are ready to eat.

Things you should consider when buying

  • When shopping, you should pay particular attention to the freshness and put your attention to seasonal, regional, and organic asparagus. In Germany, the largest growing areas are in Beelitz near Berlin, Nienburg near Hannover, Schwetzingen near Mannheim, and Schrobenhausen near Munich. Fresh asparagus can be recognized by the fact that it is crispy, can not bend, has closed heads and the ends are not too woody. In addition, fresh asparagus squeaks when you rub the spears against each other.
  • For storage, you should wrap the still unpeeled asparagus in a damp kitchen towel and put it in the refrigerator. So it stays fresh for two to three days. If you want to get into his taste far beyond the season, you should pack it airtight and freeze. Frozen asparagus you can thaw directly into boiling water or process as if it were fresh.
I prefer green asparagus – here fried with the protein-bomb tempeh
I prefer green asparagus – here fried with the protein-bomb tempeh

The smell of asparagus “after eating” is in the genes

Every time I eat it, I have to smile a little when I am going to pee later. The smell reminds me of what I ate that day. One of my favorite meals! 🙂
Our genes determine whether we produce this odor or not. According to estimates, every second of us converts the asparagine acid contained in the asparagus into highly odorous, sulfurous decomposition products. And this sulfur makes the typical asparagus smell “afterward”.

Who of you loves asparagus as much as I do? And who has to smile after eating too? 😉

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Finally, it's springtime, and we can celebrate asparagus season! It's a real superfood, and I'll tell you 8 facts you need to know!

Here are all studies for this blog post

Boari, F./Cefola, M./Gioia, F. D./Pace, B./Serio, F./Cantore, V. 2013: Effect of cooking methods on antioxidant activity and nitrate content of selected wild Mediterranean plants, in: International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Vol. 64, 2013, No. 7, pp. 870-876.

Ramamoorthy, A./Sadler, B. M./van Hasselt, J. G. C. et al. 2017: Crowdsourced Asparagus Urinary Odor Population Kinetics, in: CPT Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology, Vol. 7, 2017, No. 1, pp. 34-41.

Romojaro, A./Botella, M. A./Obón, C./Pretel, M. T. 2013: Nutritional and antioxidant properties of wild edible plants and their use as potential ingredients in the modern diet, in: International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Vol. 64, 2013, No. 8, pp. 944-952.

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