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Posted on Wednesday 21 April 2021

By Diana Earnshaw

Asparagus day is the 23 April.

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant when left to itself, but the new shoots that emerge from the ground in the spring, are the part that is harvested for food and it can grow up to 25cm in a day!

Nicolas Culpeper (1616-1654) said asparagus “stirreth up bodily lust in man or woman”. It is still considered by some as an aphrodisiac!

Asparagus makes our urine smell odd. This is due to a sulphurous compound called mercaptan.

The Romans cultivated it around 3000 BC.

Nutritionally, asparagus has much to commend it. Folate is essential for normal cell growth (especially important for unborn babies) and is also believed to lower the risk of strokes and depression. Due to the presence of minerals magnesium, phosphorous and zinc, asparagus supports bone health. Also present are vitamins A, B, C and K1, plus antioxidants and fibre.

Added to the nutrition powerhouse that it is, it tastes delicious! It should be lightly cooked – steamed for just a few minutes. Cooked in this way it is wonderful just with butter, or dipped into the yolk of a poached egg or dressed with olive oil and a grinding of salt. These would make a scrumptious lunch with some gorgeous sourdough bread!

There are many other ways to enjoy this springtime delight so here are a couple of recipes.

Asparagus Risotto (from BBC Good Food)

Vegan/Vegetarian Asparagus Soup (From The Flexitarian)

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