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Need answers to all your asparagus questions? read on

When was asparagus first cultivated?
asparagusAsparagus has a long history. It was first cultivated about 2500 years ago in Greece. The name is a Greek word, meaning stalk or shoot. The Greeks believed asparagus was an herbal medicine which, among other things, would cure toothaches and prevent bee stings.
Second century Physician, Galen, described asparagus as "cleansing and healing". Claims for medicinal benefits of asparagus persist to this day. The Romans became great lovers of asparagus, and grew it in high-walled courtyards. (Julius Caesar adored it, simply served with melted butter). In their conquests, the Romans spread it to the Gauls, Germans, Britains and from there, the rest of the world. It became popular in France during the reign of Louis XIV , the Sun King (1638-1715) and Madam de Pompadour is said to have had her asparagus served with crushed hard boiled egg to increase her (and her lovers) sexual vigour.

Is asparagus an aphrodisiac?
asparagusThrough the ages asparagus has had a reputation as an aphrodisiac. Both through the Law of Similarity (the shape of a vegetable dictates its properties), and the Law of Rarity . (Although now common place asparagus was once considered a rare import and therefore the more highly valued were its special properties).
Culpeper, a great seventeenth century herbalist, wrote that asparagus stirreth up bodily lust in man and woman . But, perhaps this is only because asparagus arrives in Spring, the traditional season for love!
Regardless, freshly cooked asparagus dribbled over with melted butter and eaten with the fingers, is bound to have some sort of erotic effect!

Why does my urine smell funny after consuming asparagus?
Most authorities feel that the compound that causes the odour in urine after consumption of asparagus is methylmercaptan, which is a sulphur-containing derivative of the amino acid, methionine. The product is formed as a derivative during the digestion and subsequent breakdown of beneficial amino acids that occur naturally in asparagus. Back to top


What are the nutritional benefits of asparagus?
A 100 gram serving (approximately 5 spears) has only 90 kilojoules. It contains 92 grams water, 1 gram of fibre, 2.8grams protein and 4 grams carbohydrate. It is also a source of folate, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, iron, and vitamin B6. Back to top

asparagusWill asparagus make me fat?

Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables available. Its abundance of nutrients, fibre and very low sodium and calorie content make asparagus a nutritionally wise choice for todays health-conscious consumer. Avoid melted butter and rich sauces. Try serving asparagus with lemon juice or freshly grated parmesan cheese. Back to top

Where does asparagus grow?
Asparagus is grown all over the world. The best quality asparagus is grown in Victoria, Australia.


How long does asparagus have to grow before it can be cultivated?

An asparagus crop grows for three years before it comes into production. It reaches its prime after 6-8 years, when it can yield as much as one to two tons per acre when grown commercially.

What is the optimum growing season for asparagus?
The best season for asparagus is Spring. The best quality and quantity of asparagus is available during October. In Victoria, Australia, asparagus is harvested from early August through mid December. Asparagus can be harvested in other seasons; however quantity is limited and the quality standard is lower. The fresh asparagus available in Australia from mid autumn through winter is produced in the Northern Hemisphere Spring and imported from the Philippines or the United States. Back to top

How fast can an asparagus spear grow?
The growth rate of asparagus is regulated by temperature. In warm mid season weather the growth can approach 1cm per hour.Back to top

How is asparagus harvested?
Asparagus is harvested manually. Harvesting staff use long handled knives to cut off the spear below ground level.

Why does some asparagus have white on the end?


The below ground section of the spear is white as it has never been exposed to sunlight. Photosynthesis develops the asparagus green colour in the brief period between the spear emerging from the ground and harvest.Back to top

asparagusWhat happens to the fern growth prior to harvest?
When the green fern of Summer turns to the golden colours of Autumn, the plant transfers carbohydrates from the above ground fern to the root structure below. The fern is now mulched and worked back into the soil. Back to top

What vegetables are related to asparagus?
The asparagus plant is a member of the lily family, which also includes onions, leeks and garlic.

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