Asparagus facts (interesting & fun)
Asparagus Throughout History
Perhaps the earliest depiction of asparagus existed on an Egyptian frieze dating back to 3,000 BC.
As far back as (approximately) 160 BC, asparagus is mentioned in writing. Cato The Elder, a Roman statesman, wrote instructions on how to plant asparagus in his manuscript De Agri Cultura (On Farming or On Agriculture).
It’s said that Queen Nefertiti proclaimed asparagus to be the food of the Gods.
Romans, in the 1st century B.C. became the first to preserve the vegetable by freezing it in the Alps.
Roman emperors had special “asparagus fleets” to gather only the best quality asparagus and bring it back to them.
France’s King Louis XIV dubbed asparagus the “king of vegetables” (or the “food of kings” depending on who tells the story) and was the first to have them cultivated in greenhouses so he could enjoy it throughout the year.
Asparagus and your health
Research has shown that the minerals and amino acids in asparagus may not only protect the liver against toxins, but can also relieve some of the effects alcohol has on the body. It is believed that the vegetable helps certain enzymes break down the alcohol better thereby alleviating some of the hangover effects of alcohol consumption.
While it’s often made fun of, the truth is that the majority of people can’t smell “asparagus pee“– the odor asparagus consumption causes urine to have. It actually takes a specific gene to allow someone to detect the smell, and only 25% of people have that gene.
Asparagus contains NO fat or cholesterol.
Preliminary research shows the antioxidants asparagus is high in may help in slowing down the aging process (key words being preliminary and may).
Another study reported by Tufts University shows that even a minor deficiency in vitamin B-12 may be associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults. Being that it’s high in folate, which teams especially well with vitamin B-12, adding (or increasing) asparagus to meals high in B-12 (beef, lobster, crab, lamb, cheese, eggs) can combat this deficiency.
For women who are lactose intolerant, asparagus (and other calcium-rich non-dairy foods) can help with PMS symptoms.
It is high in asparagine (an amino acid which acts as a diuretic) and helpful for removing salts from the body which assists people who suffer from edema, high blood pressure, or other heart-related issues.
Asparagus is one of the best vegetable sources for riboflavin (Vitamin B2) which studies have shown can help reduce the frequency of migraine headaches and how long they last in people who sufferer from them.
The Business of Asparagus
Peru (40.97%) is the worlds leading asparagus exporter, followed by Mexico (22.93%) and the United States (9.51%).
In the United States, the majority of asparagus is grown n just 3 states: California, Washington, and Michigan with California accounting for about 70% of the nations asparagus production.
It generally takes 3 years from the initial crown planting before a grower can harvest the crop and be able to earn any revenue.
Well cared-for asparagus beds generally produce for 15-20 years on the original planting, eliminating the need to replant each season and waiting an additional 3 years to harvest.
Believe it or not, there is actually a museum dedicated solely to asparagus. The European Asparagus Museum (Europäisches Spargelmuseum in German), located in Schrobenhausen, Bavaria, Germany captures everything about asparagus from its history to its botany, cultivation, art and curiosities.
Asparagus on TV
This food has also made it way to the small screen, not just on cooking shows but in popular family and kids programming as well:
ALF: season 1, episode 22 “It Isn’t Easy… Bein’ Green”:
Sesame Street: season 18, February 18, 1987 “The Food We Eat”:
Sesame Street: Season 37, September 12, 2006 “Healthy Food Pageant”:
Asparagus is also considered to be one of the top food aphrodisiacs. Nicholas Culpeper, a 17th century English botanist, herbalist, physician and astrologer wrote in The English Phystian that asparagus “stirreth up bodily lust in Man or Woman”. this actually is due to the amount of vitamin E which boosts the production of sex hormones.
Its high concentration of folate also acts as a sexual enhancer, as it regulates histamine–the chemical released during orgasm.
Speaking of food and sex…being a high-quality source of vitamin-C makes asparagus one of the better foods to consumer to keep sperm healthy as well as increase its volume and mobility. If you want kids, make sure to keep this veggie a staple of your diet.