Scientific Name: Asparagus officinalis
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a flowering plant known for its slender spears shape. Unlike other vegetables which are mostly annual, asparagus is perennial, meaning that it is planted once and can regrow every year. Although asparagus is available throughout the year, its best season is from late February to May, with some areas continuing through June. Asparagus first originated in the eastern Mediterranean and Asia and grows best in temperate regions with a lot of sunshine. Today, asparagus can be found in many places, from Asian countries like Thailand and China to American and European nations such as Mexico, Peru, and Germany.
Asparagus contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, notably vitamin K (52% daily value [DV]), vitamin A (15% DV), folate (13% DV), iron (12% DV), and copper (10% DV.) Because of the high vitamin K content (52% DV), asparagus is one of the best food sources for this nutrient, which plays a vital role in blood clotting and maintains healthy bones. Vitamin A in asparagus helps with vision, immunity, bone growth, cell function, and reproduction. At the same time, folate, a type of vitamin B, is responsible for creating red blood cells, genetic material, and ensuring brain/nervous system overall health. Iron and copper in asparagus also participate in blood formation.
Asparagus can come in two other different colors: white and purple. White asparagus is more common in Europe and has a milder taste, compared to their green cousins in America. Similarly, purple asparagus is not popular in the US, but it has a nuttier and sweeter taste and contains anthocyanin, a type of antioxidant.