Year after year, many gourmets enjoy the asparagus season. The noble vegetable is not only super versatile in use, but at the same time transforms any dish into a delicacy. However, before asparagus found its way into the kitchen, it was highly valued as a medicinal plant for a long time. In India, the spring vegetable used to be called the "healer of a hundred diseases". Thus, it was predominantly used to treat bladder problems, ulcers and coughs.
The origin, properties and history of asparagus
Vegetable asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a perennial herbaceous plant, which is distinguished between white and green asparagus. White asparagus grows underground, but when it comes into contact with sunlight, it turns purple. Therefore, in the case of pale asparagus, a further distinction is made between white asparagus and purple asparagus. The latter tastes somewhat spicier than white asparagus due to its natural colorants. Green asparagus, on the other hand, grows above ground and has a spicy-salty flavor.
Asparagus was already popular in ancient Egypt as a food and medicinal plant. However, the light-colored stalks did not come to Europe until the 15th century. There it was considered a delicacy and for a long time was served only on special occasions. Because asparagus was so precious, it was first reserved for kings and princes. It was only in the course of industrialization that it also found its way into the kitchens of wealthy citizens. At the beginning of the 20th century, supply and demand increased so much that asparagus prices dropped and the vegetable became affordable for ordinary citizens as well. Today, you can buy asparagus in spring in any supermarket or vegetable market. The main producers are France, Spain and Italy.
The ingredients of asparagus
Asparagus is a very low-calorie vegetable with only 21 calories, but it contains many important vitamins and nutrients: these include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B6
The spring vegetable owes its unique taste to essential oils and the amino acid asparagine.
The effect of asparagus on our body
Asparagus stimulates our metabolism and thus helps us flush annoying toxins from our body. In addition, vitamin C strengthens our immune system. Vitamin E also promotes the production and release of sex hormones.
Asparagus in the kitchen
Asparagus can be used in the kitchen in many ways: raw, hot, cold, cooked, boiled - the spring vegetable makes every dish a delicacy. But asparagus is especially good in salads, soups, as risotto or as a side dish to potato dishes.
During preparation, care should always be taken not to overcook the asparagus. Green asparagus needs only 5 to 8 minutes, while white and purple asparagus needs twice as long with 10 to 15 minutes.
Purchase and storage
When buying asparagus, it is important to pay attention to freshness, because the vegetable should be processed no later than three days after harvesting, otherwise it loses its effect. Fresh asparagus has shiny stalks that squeak when rubbed together. In the case of white and purple asparagus, attention should also be paid to the head - this is tightly closed in fresh asparagus. The situation is completely different with green asparagus: Here, the head has already opened slightly due to exposure to light. Asparagus should not be stored in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for longer than three days.