Asparagus has the botanical name Asparagus officinalis. It’s a spring vegetable composed of young shoots. As the plant develops, it turns woody and becomes inedible. The young shoots however create a delicious side salad when lightly sautéed and served tender, but crisp. Cultivation of the vegetable is supposed to have started in Egypt some two million years back.
The name is considered to be Persian in origin and means’shoot’, which in Persian is ‘asparag’. In England, this plant was known as’sparrow grass’, which seems rather like ‘asparagus’. Asparagus arrived in North America with the Pilgrim Fathers. It’s currently grown on a large scale from the sunny state of California. This healthful vegetable could be boiled, grilled over moderate heat, roasted, or even microwaved. Add lemon, garlic, salt or pepper to give it more flavour. It can be utilized as an appetizer or a side dish, and is delicious with beef, salad, or just with eggs. The decision is yours.
Asparagus is nutritious due to the minerals, antioxidants and vitamins it contains. It’s quite low in calories (a mere four calories per spear), therefore it’s a great for individuals concerned about their own weight. Additionally it is a rich source of the B complex of vitamins, and especially vitamins A, C, E, and K, in addition to folate. Vitamin K is good for the blood, bones and the heart. It can help to prevent hardening of the arteries by maintaining calcium from artery linings.
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Vitamin C promotes immunity, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that mops up harmful free radicals circulating the body. Vitamin A is retinol, which is vital for night vision. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps the body use energy from food, particularly the energy contained in carbs. The B complex of vitamins help to metabolize sugars, so they are important in controlling glucose levels. Folate in asparagus helps pregnancy by reducing the possibility of neural-tube defects in fetuses.
It works with vitamin B12 and vitamin C to construct proteins. Additionally, it helps with the formation of red blood cells. Copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc compose the rich mineral package this vegetable offers. Asparagus is also a natural diuretic, so it helps with urine production and helps with the removal of excess fluid and salts in the body.
The tender but crisp spears are an exceptional source of dietary fiber, which helps the digestive tract. When purchasing asparagus, select spears with’tight’ heads. They may come bound with string or elastic to maintain the spears together. The top spears snap when bent. Trim the bottom ends , then wash the spears thoroughly before cooking to crispy and tender.