We all recognize the green asparagus we see in supermarkets. But did you know it comes in purple too? And white? Europeans refer to white asparagus as white gold and travel hours into the countryside in anticipation of the first spring harvest.
Asparagus plants come from the fern family. The stalks they send up through the soil appear suddenly, and in only a day or two they’re ready for harvest. Leave them in the field long enough, and the stalks mature, erupting into lacy greenÂ cloud-likeÂ blooms.
Asparagus is full of nutrients, an excellent source of potassium, fiber, thiamin and vitamins A, C and B6. The amino acid asparagine gets its name from asparagus, since the plant contains such high levels of this beneficial compound. Asparagus is also the leading vegetable source for folic acid, offering 60% of the recommended daily intake in just five ounces. Folic acid is essential in blood cell formation and the prevention of liver disease.
Asparagus is delicious on its own and also terrific with butter, garlic or lemon sauces. It can be stir-fried, seared on the grill or roasted in the oven. Celebrate the season’s best with our Roasted Spring Veggie Couscous. Another great meal idea is this Asparagus & Mushroom Frittata from RecipeZaar.com.