Asparagus is an herbaceous perennial plant belongs to a group of vegetables that includes onion and garlic. Asparagus crowns are planted by early spring, developing tall-branched stems bearing fine fern-like green needles, what gives the plant an overall feathery appearance.
Young scaly edible spears emerge from the extensive matted root systems. In general, long young shoots are harvested by either snapping or using a paring knife, cutting close to the ground level. White asparagus spears are produced by covering erupting shoots, depriving them of sunlight. This method makes the shoots turn pale through inhibition of photosynthesis.
A versatile and delicious plant of delicate flavour and many nutritive and health benefits.
Asparagus is a very low calorie vegetable. In addition, the spears contain moderate levels of dietary fiber. Fresh asparagus spears are the good source of vitamin C, folates, B-complex, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid, essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.
This delicious plant also provides anti-oxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, carotenes, and crypto-xanthins. Together, these flavonoid compounds help remove harmful oxidant free radicals from the body protect it from possible cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, and viral infections.