Asparagus

Spearing good health with an excellent delicacy

The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender and have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. This highly prized vegetable, which is often thought of as a luxury vegetable, arrives with the coming of spring and it’s quite popular in Greek cuisine.

The most common variety of asparagus is green in color, but white and purple asparagus are also used in cooking. White asparagus is grown underground to inhibit its development of chlorophyll content, therefore creating its distinctive white coloring. It is generally found canned, although you may find it fresh in some select gourmet shops, and it is generally more expensive than the green variety since its production is more labor intensive. The other edible variety of asparagus is purple in color. It is much smaller than the green or white variety and features a fruitier flavor.

Asparagus contains a unique array of phytonutrients and it is an important source of the digestive support nutrient, inulin. It is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory vitamin K, heart-healthy folate, vitamin B1, vitamin C, and vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and bone-building copper. Asparagus is a very good source of energy-producing vitamin B2, and B3 as well as phosphorus, heart-healthy potassium, vitamin B6 and dietary fiber, antioxidant-promoting vitamin E and manganese, and muscle-building protein.

Asparagus has been prized as an epicurean delight and for its medicinal properties for almost 2.000 years. It is a native plant in Greece and the famous botanists and pharmacists Dioskourides and Theofrastos used wild asparagus not only as a culinary component but also in their professional practices.

In Greece there are many wild species of asparagus harvested for human consumption, especially in Crete, Thessaly and Cephalonia. They are also commercially produced in the areas of Macedonia and Thrace and part of this production is being exported.

Asparagus are served fresh with olive oil & lemon and can also be cooked with meat and pasta. In addition, chopped asparagus make a flavorful and colorful addition to omelets.

MLGFB Tip:

Recent research has underscored the value of careful storage and speedy consumption of fresh asparagus.

  • By wrapping the ends of the asparagus in a damp paper or cloth towel, you can help offset asparagus very high respiration rate during refrigerator storage
  • It’s better to consume fresh asparagus within approximately 48 hours of purchase
This entry was posted in Foods, Vegetables and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.