Asparagus has a long, rich history that goes back 2,000+ years. It originated in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, and traces of it have been found in Africa. It is pictured in an Egyptian frieze (a type of painted or sculpted decoration) that dates to 3,000 BC as an offering.
The Greeks and Romans ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use during the winter. They prized asparagus for its unique flavor, texture, and alleged medicinal qualities. A recipe for cooking asparagus is included in the world’s oldest surviving book of recipes, which dates to the 3rd century AD.
Asparagus gained popularity in France and England in the 16th century, and from there, early colonists brought it to America. Asparagus is known as the “Food of Kings” because King Louis XIV of France loved the vegetable so much he had special greenhouses built so he could enjoy Asparagus year-round.
We all know that Asparagus, as with most other fruits and vegetables, is good for you…but, why? For starters, Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food that is a good source of Fiber, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Thiamine. If that isn’t enough, it is also packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Even more reason to eat this funny looking vegetable!
How to Select & Prep Asparagus
It’s pretty easy to pick out a great bunch of Asparagus. Simply look for bright green or purple-tinged spears with firm stems. You will also want to make sure that the tips are closed and compact. When preparing your Asparagus, trim a little bit off the bottom end (about an inch) and wash thoroughly with cold water.
How to Cook Asparagus
Asparagus is very versatile and can be cooked in a wide variety of ways. Roasted in the oven, cooked on the grill or sautéed on the stove top are just a few of many ways to cook this nutritional wonder. Check out our recipe page to see more ways to cook Asparagus!