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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Health Benefits Of Asparagus

What is asparagus?


Asparagus is a plant whose young shoots are grown as a vegetable. There are white asparagus, green asparagus and purple asparagus. The first are grown under the ground and kept out of the light, the second must have seen the sun. In Northwest Europe, the white asparagus is most common in countries like Italy, the green asparagus. Purple asparagus is a niche product. Also, the asparagus in the wild in dune scrub and along rivers.

History

The first signs of asparagus consumption are found in the pyramid of Saqqara in Egypt, built around 2750 BC the Romans knew the vegetable two centuries b.c. all to appreciate. After the fall of the Roman Empire is also the asparagus growing in Europe lost. The knowledge was kept alive in the Levant. Asparagus cultivation came back from the 15th century in Europe, from Spain (brought by the Moors) via France to the North. Since the 17th century, the asparagus in France and some other Western European countries again bred.

In the Netherlands since the 19th century cultivated on a larger scale asparagus. The oldest surviving area is around Bergen op Zoom, but since World War Northern Limburg is the main production area for asparagus. The auction in Grubbenvorst thereof downtown. In recent decades the crop in other parts of the country (eg Salland Twente and Groningen) penetrated. A large part of the asparagus cultured in the Netherlands is exported to Germany. In 2003 it was found a knife in Woerden with the image of an asparagus, which is assumed that the asparagus in the Netherlands has been eaten in Roman times.

In Belgium, asparagus grown in the area around Mechelen and the area around Bornem / Puurs (Kalfort) and delivers a limited harvest. Especially Kalfort here is very famous for. Hence celebrations as the asparagus throw 'the end of August, and' aspuurge 'in the' Forest Coolhem 'in Kalfort. Asparagus even now is still wild in some European regions, such as Poland.

asparagus crowns, pickled asparagus, asparagus plants, asparagus fern


Cultivation

The asparagus is a perennial plant, that 8 to 10 consecutive years on the same field is grown. The above-ground plant, with woody stems and branches, dies off in the fall, but the underground parts Hibernate, and form new stems in the spring. They are if they still underground are stabbed, and sold as a vegetable. These are the white asparagus. If the stems have come above ground they fade to green or purple. For the white asparagus is the soil around the plant about half a meter is increased, so that the arrow his way up to the light, and the arrow can be harvested before he can reach the surface. Asparagus fields are often covered with foil. This has the dual purpose to the ground to heat, so that the plant grows faster and delivers more revenue, and to prevent the heads go discolor.

Asparagus Season
The asparagus season is relatively short; Netherlands in about two months. The first asparagus mired in the spring head on (depending on the temperatures in February or early March). There is traditionally harvested from the second Thursday of april to 24 June. Hereinafter referred to as the plant is left alone to give this the time to grow, so that new energy is gained for the following year. The (solar) energy is absorbed by the above-ground green asparagus leaves and stored in the roots.

Preparation

In the preparation of asparagus it is of great importance in order to peel them sufficiently. This can be done with a special knife or asparagus with a peeler for vegetable. Insufficient peeled asparagus is stringy. It is also important that asparagus not dry out. When you purchase should be taken thereon; Asparagus can be kept at home for several days by putting them in a sealed plastic bag and / or covered with a wet towel in the refrigerator. If one wants to keep asparagus for longer, they can be peeled and uncooked frozen. If they are removed from the freezer, they should not be thawed, but to be brought to the boil frozen.

Asparagus be, depending on the thickness, cooked in 8-10 minutes. The best does this in a special aspergepan which the standing asparagus are cooked so that the heads are not under water, but an ordinary pan (with enough water so that the asparagus just below water) also works well. One uses an asparagus shovel to drain it. A traditional method of serving is with ham and a boiled egg. There can be the best white wine, for example Alsace (Pinot Gris), to be drunk.

Folk medicine
Traditionally attributed medicinal properties to the asparagus as a medicine against bees stabbing, heart problems, dizziness and toothaches. Also, it was used as a diuretic agent or a laxative, and it is now known that the in asparagus occurring amino acid asparagine indeed stimulates the renal function. Finally asparagus (because of the phallic appearance) also touted as an aphrodisiac. Today, asparagus is often appreciated by patients on a controlled sodium diet, since the asparagus without further additions has a distinctive flavor.

Asparagus urine
Several hours after eating fresh asparagus has urine in about 45% of people a peculiar odor. This is because the sulfur compounds in the asparagus in the body after consumption are rapidly converted into volatile sulfur compounds. Some biochemists believe that conversion takes place at each asparagus-eater, but not everyone can smell sulfur air as well. Others believe that the ability to produce asparagus-urine in a part of the human subjects. In any case, would involve autosomal dominant inheritance.

Botanical description

Asparagus has erect stems that can be up to 2 m. The young stems are the asparagus. The plant has very fine 10 to 25 mm long needle-shaped leaves, which actually leaves are not only comparable with twigs. The actual leaves are discontinuous and have on the back a short sturdy spine. The plant's fleshy roots, in which the food reserves stored. Asparagus is dioecious.

The plant blooms from July in with greenish, unisexual flowers. The fruit is a red berry.

Pests and diseases

Asparagus stalk may be affected by the asparagus fly (Platyparea poeciloptera), allowing the stems show some vergroeiïngen, yellow can discolor and may even die. Asparagus fly lays eggs in the spring on the young just visible cups of asparagus. The larvae emerge from the eggs, eat vertical hallways and pupate in the stem under the ground. There may be a heavy infestation or 3 or 4 larvae are active in an asparagus stalk. Characteristic of the asparagus fly the zigzag striped wings, the fly is about 6 mm and is especially noticeable in windless evenings. This fly is only one generation per year, after the end of July the asparagus fly is barely active. Control or asparagus fly the culprit can easily dying stems at different places to cut through and see if eating the typical alleys of the larvae are found.

Nutritional information per 100g

  • 21 kcal
  • Protein 2 g
  • Carbohydrates 10 mg
  • Calcium 20 mg
  • Iron 1 mg
  • Sodium 5 mg
  • Vitamin C 20 mg

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