The shoots of the asparagus plant form asparagus , this plant is part of the Asparagaceae family, which is harvested immature, before branching and hardening. Its foliage is usually very branched, in fact, these stems are those that are generally obtained to market as edible vegetables, which we call asparagus.

According to its handling during cultivation, two types of asparagus are obtained: white and green. These are used to prepare numerous dishes and recipes, and are available canned, preserved in glass jars or naturally in the markets. It is a food that provides many nutrients to the body.

What are the benefits of asparagus for health

Asparagus have many properties that provide health benefits, some of these benefits are:

  • They have diuretic properties , which are beneficial for diseases such as diabetes because it contributes to lower blood glucose levels through the urine, also treating bladder diseases, fluid retention and hypertension, due to its low content in fats and sugars is ideal in the treatment of these pathologies.
  • They help dissolve kidney stones thanks to the oxalates contained in asparagus.
  • They contain zinc , which is an important mineral for the brain and an essential chemical element with the ability to increase fertility and sexual potency.
  • It is one of the vegetables with the highest protein content , which play a fundamental role in the structure of muscle tissues.
  • They have different vitamins , which have an antioxidant character. Among these are provitamin A, which is of great benefit to the health of the skin, eyes and arteries. It has vitamins belonging to group B including B1, B2, B3 and B6, in the same way it has vitamin C, which is fundamentally involved in the process of formation of red blood cells, teeth, bones and collagen. In the same way, it contributes to the absorption of iron from food and increases immunity in case of an infection, asparagus also contains vitamin E that contributes to the cellular oxygenation process.
  • High fiber content , of great benefit to combat constipation and the proper functioning of the intestinal transit.
  • They provide magnesium , which supports the health of the immune system and participates in the functioning of the muscles, intestines and nerves.
  • They provide potassium, important in the process of transferring and generating the nerve impulse and to guarantee the normal activity of the muscles.
  • High content of iron and folic acid , which offers great benefits in the treatment of anemia.
  • They help to fall asleep and fight insomnia.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Used to calm coughs and relieve chest problems.
  • It has a magnificent sedative effect , normalizes respiratory functions and calms palpitations.

Other properties of asparagus

  • Asparagus has anti-aging properties . They have many antioxidants, ranking among the best fruits and vegetables for their ability to neutralize damaged cells. In this way they help to slow down the aging process.
  • It serves to detoxify our body . Asparagus is a very rich source of potassium, which, as is well known, helps reduce belly fat. Also, as we already mentioned, it contains fiber, which helps cleanse our digestive system. It has no fat or cholesterol, has very few calories and is the best food to detoxify the body.
  • One good thing about asparagus is that it can be beneficial in the fight against cancer. Asparagus provides an important source of nutrition, providing the antioxidant glutathione, a substance that researchers from the Institute for Cancer Prevention (IPC) have identified as effective in fighting cancer. In addition, glutathione has antiviral properties.

What are the types of asparagus?

Asparagus actually start from the same genus, depending on the way they are grown, some aspects may vary. That said, asparagus can be classified, based on species, variety, and growing method.

1.- Wild or wild asparagus.

These grow spontaneously in the field. They are very thin and green in color, presenting a subtly bitter taste. The season for these asparagus is very short, lasting only two months during the spring. This species is grown in urban field gardens. They can be replanted in the field reproducing them easily by division of the mat. It is not necessary to bury them excessively and only the tips of their shoots are collected.

2.- The thick and white cultivated asparagus.

They are the asparagus that are generally packaged. For its cultivation, furrows are made and buried by raising the ridges exaggeratedly to protect their stems from light, thus managing to preserve their albino appearance.

In some cases, depending on the variety, the tip turns green or takes on purple hues. Its production is exclusive in the spring and its skin is smooth and shiny. To collect them, one has to be careful when the shoots emerge from the ridge, then when they are discovered, the surrounding soil is removed and they are cut.

3.- Garden asparagus or parakeets.

These asparagus are thicker than wild or wild asparagus. Its color is green, and from time to time they acquire a slight purple hue, due to the fact that they are grown without protection from the sun. It is also planted in ridges but without covering them excessively. The stems are collected as they sprout, to avoid cutting them too long, because they harden very easily.

Its production is carried out exclusively in spring like the other varieties of asparagus. Once the production of asparagus is exhausted, the plant is allowed to grow freely, so that it obtains the necessary strength, and thus its shoots are harvested in abundance in the next season

How to cook asparagus?

Asparagus in its simple form is cooked as follows:

  1. Steam the tender shoots until very tender.
  2. They can be served with melted butter, with a few drops of lemon and olive oil or a sauce of your choice.
  3. Finally sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese to taste.

A gastronomic refinement is to tie the asparagus shoots in bundles and prepare them standing, so that the lower part of the stems boils, while the most tender buds are steamed. The cylindrical and tall pots are special for cooking asparagus, especially if they have perforated protruding bases to hold them, making the cooking process simpler.

Compared to most vegetables, where the thinnest and smallest are the most tender, the thickest stalks are more tender in proportion to their skin.

The best asparagus are cooked when they are picked and cleaned directly from the ground, while the water is brought to a boil.

5 tips to prepare asparagus well

Asparagus is very versatile when cooking, since there is more than one way to prepare it in the different recipes. Despite this, it is common to make mistakes when preparing it, resulting in a poor result in the final dish. Here we offer you 5 tips to get an excellent preparation and make the most of this delicious vegetable in your recipes.

  • Cut off the base of the stems. In some cases to cook a recipe with asparagus in the preparation it is recommended to always cut them in the same place, this is done so that when they are cooked standing they all achieve a homogeneous cooking. But what they don’t say is that asparagus, depending on its type, cannot always be cut in the same area in order to be cooked standing up.
  • Peel the stem of the asparagus. The stem of the thick asparagus is fibrous, and these should be peeled lightly on the surface using a well-sharpened potato peeler. This process must be carried out carefully so as not to cut it more than it should.
  • Cook the asparagus in water . To cook asparagus properly, you must use a tall, narrow pot. If you do not have this type of pot and you use a normal size one, you should take into account to put them upright, leaning against the wall of the pot to prevent them from submerging in the water.
  • Sauté or sauté the asparagus in a skillet. This technique is used to cook asparagus for a more elaborate dish, such as a risotto, a filling, or simply as a garnish. To sauté the asparagus, they are cut into slices and the stems are integrated with the other ingredients of the recipe for about 5 to 6 minutes, then the yolks are added that will be sautéed for 3-4 more minutes. It is not advisable to cook asparagus in water since when sautéing them they turn into mush.
  • Don’t throw away leftovers . When you cut and peel the asparagus, there are remains of its base and the skin of the surface. These leftovers can be used to prepare an excellent asparagus cream. Simply boil salted water in a medium saucepan and add all those leftovers and let them cook for about 20 minutes, until the hard areas are soft and can be pierced with a fork. Once that time has elapsed, place the cooking in the blender and blend until a homogeneous mixture is obtained. Season to taste and enjoy a delicious cream with the remains of this rich vegetable.

Conclusion about asparagus.

We can conclude that asparagus is a source of nutrients and vitamins that help the body fight certain diseases, due to the wide range of properties they have. In addition, asparagus are simple foods to cook and wonderful and healthy dishes can be achieved by including them in our daily diet. It should be noted that asparagus are delicious vegetables and are recommended for all ages.

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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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