Every year, asparagus aficionados look forward to their favorite vegetable coming into season. Asparagus season kicks off in April and runs until June 24. Okay, you probably already knew that. But do you also know what’s hidden under the soil in asparagus fields, and whether asparagus can help you build muscle? Here are ten interesting facts about this very regal vegetable.
Asparagus officinalis is the scientific name for asparagus. The word “asparagus” stems from the Latin and Ancient Greek and means “sprout” or “shoot”.
2. Root facts
Do you know what’s hidden beneath the raised beds of asparagus? And how is asparagus sown or planted? Asparagus grows from underground rootstock. Only the young shoots are harvested. As the rootstocks age, the asparagus spears become increasingly thinner. After around ten years, a new rootstock needs to be used.
3. The bitter truth
Have you ever been served bitter asparagus? That’s what happens when the asparagus is cut too close to the rootstock. Because the parts close to the root contain more bitter compounds.
4. Color theory
White asparagus is also known as bleached asparagus and is only so nice and white because it grows within a raised bed with no exposure to sunlight. If it peeks out of the earth, it will take on a soft violet color. Green asparagus grows above the earth in direct sunlight. Other varieties are usually used for green asparagus.
5. Green for vitamins
With the help of the sun, green asparagus produces chlorophyll, but also more carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and more vitamin C. It also develops more flavor, meaning you get a more intense, aromatic vegetable taste.
6. Asparagus flavors
Asparagus is loved for its unique flavor. This fine flavor and slightly bitter taste is due to asparagusic acid. However, it doesn’t develop its flavor until cooked. So raw asparagus doesn’t have that typical asparagus taste.
7. The secret of the smell
Why does your urine often smell so strange after you’ve eaten asparagus? The smell originates from the sulfur compounds that develop in the asparagusic acid. Don’t you know the smell? Then maybe you’re one of the 60% of people who do not form this odorous substance, or one of those who just can’t smell it.
8. Testosterone boosters with asparagus extract
Do they help you build muscle? Many testosterone boosters with asparagus extract or aspartic acid promise improved muscles, libido and performance. Unfortunately, according to experts, they don’t work. Aspartic acid is a protein element that can help build muscle. However, your body can also produce it itself.
9. Freshness test
Is the asparagus in your supermarket really fresh? You can tell its fresh when the ends are moist and juicy and the tips still firmly closed. The stalks should squeak when you rub them together.
10. Kitchen tricks
A splash of lemon juice in the cooking water makes white asparagus brilliantly white. The best way to cook asparagus is tied together in a bunch, stood upright in just a little water so the tips are only steamed rather than boiled. Green asparagus cooks faster than white asparagus. Cook frozen asparagus without defrosting to ensure the stalks don’t go soggy.
Have you got an appetite for fresh, spring asparagus recipes? Then try our fruity asparagus salad with arugula and strawberries or the spicy combination of white asparagus with strawberry and tomato chutney.
Note: Since everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about the diet and exercise plan that‘s right for you.