Asparagus is a type of vegetable obtained from one species within the genus Asparagus, specifically the young shoots of Asparagus officinalis. It has been used from very early times as a culinary vegetable, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties
Uses - In their simplest form, the shoots are boiled or steamed until tender and served with a light sauce like hollandaise or melted butter or a drizzle of olive oil with a dusting of Parmesan cheese. A refinement is to tie the shoots into sheaves and stand them so that the lower part of the stalks are boiled, while the more tender heads are steamed. Tall cylindrical asparagus cooking pots have liners with handles and perforated bases to make this process foolproof.
Nutrition - Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence. It leads nearly all produce items in the wide array of nutrients it supplies in significant amounts for a healthy diet.
Asparagus is the leading supplier among vegetables of folic acid. A 5.3 ounce serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folacin which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease. Folacin has been shown to play a significant role in the prevention of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, that cause paralysis and death in 2,500 babies each year.
Its wealth of nutrients, fiber and very low sodium and calorie content make asparagus a nutritionally wise choice for today's health-conscious consumer.
o Low in calories, only 20 per 5.3 oz. serving, less than 4 calories per spear.
o Contains no fat or cholesterol.
o Very low in sodium.
o A good source of potassium.(1)
o A source of fiber (3 grams per 5.3 oz. serving). (2)
o An excellent source of folacin. (3)
o A significant source of thiamin. (4)
o A significant source of vitamin B6. (4)
o One of the richest sources of rutin, a drug which strengthens capillary walls.
Contains glutathione (GSH). (5)
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