From its health benefits to its fascinating cultivation, Asparagus has a lot going for it. You already know it’s delicious, now check out this collection of fun facts and other info we’ve put together to learn more.
- Emperor Caesar Augustus was a big fan; he even devoted parts of the military to procuring it for him. They would carry it into the alps to freeze it so he could have it for later use.
- White Asparagus’ lack of color is not due to any genetic alterations. During the growing process, the farmer piles dirt on top of the asparagus or covers it with a tarp. Without light, the plant never undergoes the process of photosynthesis, which would normally cause the green color of other plants. Below is a photo of the harvesting process, when the white asparagus is cut from below the mounds of dirt.
3. The asparagus plant grows similarly to a fern, fanning out into a large plant. When the farmer is ready to harvest, the whole field is cut down to the ground. As the plants begin to grow back, the spears grow straight out of the ground. Harvesters simply cut the stalks when they get to the correct size for eating.
4. Some suggest asparagus as a potential hangover helper! It is a natural diuretic and contains many helpful amino acids, all of which may help alleviate hangover symptoms.
Craving Asparagus now? Before you head to the store, check out our tips for storage and prepping!
How to store and prep for cooking:
- To store: keep the spears in contact with water. This prevents them from drying out. There are a few options to accomplish this:
- Wrap a wet paper towel around the base of the spears, then store them in a plastic bag
- Store the asparagus like cut flowers, in a glass or jar with the base of the spears in water
- To prep: The base of the asparagus will usually be a bit tougher and drier than the rest of the spear when you purchase your asparagus. Before cooking, prep them by trimming the ends off.
- Cutting off the white portion of the spear is usually a good rule of thumb.
- If it still seems a little tough for your taste, the drier outside layer can be removed with a vegetable peeler until the more tender center is reached.
Sources (click for more fun facts!):