Asparagus, a.k.a. Asparagus officinalis
Who am I?
- Plant family: Asparagaceae
- Harvest season: May through June
- Botanical details: It takes three years for asparagus to mature enough for commercial harvest.
- Great source of*: Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Folate, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Iron, Copper, and Manganese
*contains more than 10% of the recommended daily allowance for these nutrients
How to care for me:
- Like flowers! Trim the bottom 1/2-inch of my asparagus stalks, and store me upright in a jar of water, in the fridge.
- I love butter, whether it's simply melted, mixed with lemon and herbs, or browned. I'm also a great partner for other dairy products, such as heavy cream, chèvre, and ricotta. My tender verdant qualities make me a great match for mushrooms, too. Spruce me up with a squeeze of citrus, and don't forget the freshly grated pepper!
How to cook me:
- The earliest known depiction of asparagus was on an Egyptian frieze that was created around 3,000 B.C.
- Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus coined the phrase "Velocius quam asparagi coquantur," which translates as "faster than asparagus cooks." Effectively, it means, "get a move on."
- The Romans had special fleets to transport asparagus, which they prized highly, and carried it into the Alps to freeze it for later.
- The "scales" at the tip of the asparagus stalk is actually the plant's leaves.
- In ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10-inches in one day.
- In Bavaria, there's an asparagus museum!