Asparagus season is on! When this little, delicate vegetable is available in all stores and sold fresh from the fields than it is real spring for me and summer on its way. I love the taste and do a kind of ‘asparagus cure’ every May.
Asparagus is part of the amaryllidaceae family and is found in whole Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. We mainly find it green in the shops but especially the northwestern countries of Europe (like Germany) sell it mainly white. A longer and more elaborated cultivation as the asparagus must be covered constantly during growing period. The sunlight gives the green color (chlorophyll) and as the white asparagus never sees sunlight during growing time it remains white. The wild asparagus is rare to find and anyway expensive.
They have great health benefits. It helps a lot in anti-aging processes. Vitamin A, C, E and K are only a few of which the asparagus is rich. It is great against high blood pressure, helps to get rid of too much salt and liquids in our body (it makes you pee a lot, often with the typical asparagus smell) and it is helpful to fight and protect against cancer. I find very interesting that often men don’t like asparagus either much. It seems to be a female vegetable…
The name derives from the Persian word ‘asparaq’ which means sprout, shoot. It was first cultivated 2.500 years ago in Greece and can grow 10 inches per day! This one really can be watched growing. Funny: Emperor Augustus had an ‘Asparagus Fleet’ for hauling the veggie and the expression “faster than cooking asparagus” comes from him.
It is easy to prepare a bunch of this healthy and very light (only 20 calories for 100 g) vegetable. Just roasting, healthy sauté or boiling in little water is a perfect way to serve it. But it can be pickled as well. And I tried out an asparagus pesto.
For this I had the choice between the green and the white one. I tried out both and took for the white one only the sprouts, the upper part. I loved them both and they are perfect on bread, on fish or meat and of course as sauce for pasta like penne. I don’t use cheese for pesto and it’s better not to use too much garlic as it can cover the real asparagus taste.
Have you ever tried it? Please let me know and tell me which one (green, white or wild) you used to prepare asparagus pesto.