Asparagus - history, production, trade
The word asparagus is rather general and, in fact, the word indicates both the entire plant, named after te latin Asparagus officinalis, and its sprouts.
The plant of asparagus consists of several parts. First of all the plant has rhizomes, which are modified stems that grow underground, forming a reticulum: from them depart turions, sprouts with a particular mellow and sweet savour, which are the edible part of the plant of asparagus situated over the ground. The sprouts of the asparagus are white until they come up to the surface, and then, because of the light, become first of a pink, violet colour and then of a more or less intense green. The asparagus is white also when it is grown through forced cultivation (for this reason called white variety of asparagus ), while if cultivated in open field it assumes the most typical green coloration, because of photosynthesis. Unlike many fresh vegetables, where the smallest and thinnest sprouts are the most tender, in this case the biggest stalk of the asparagus have more pulp compared to the thickness of the skin and are, for this reason, more tender.
Asparagus has special diuretic properties and chefs and gourmets appreciate it and use it.
Asparagus is quite expensive and has high rejection rate up to 45%. Asparagus is rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folic acid, amino acids, carotenoids, rutin (which is important to strengthten the hair), manganes and mineral salts such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Asparagus is also particularly suitable for all low-calorie diets, as it contains few calories (25 Kcal/100g), and is low in sodium.
Furthermore, asparagus has also diuretic and cleansing properties: they also play an active role in the decrease of cases of eczema, but they are also rich in uric acid . For this reason their consumption is not recommended for those suffering from cystits, gout and general inflammaion in kidneys. The consumption of asparagus by women during pregnancy reduces the chance of the fetus to develop malformations.
Aparagus stimulates appetite, reducing water retention in tissues thanks to the presence of purines (which originate uric acid as a result of their cleavage), and, for this reason, is a quite useful remedy for those who want to eliminate cellulite; however, the diuretic stimulus exerted by asparagus can irritate the kidneys.
Asparagus contains asparagine or aspartic acid, which gives the urine a typical odor; this odor in the urine is associated with the efficiency of the renal system.
Asparagus once traded and sold on the fruit and vegetable market, should be stored in the fridge, in the vegetable drawer, wrapped in a damp cloth, where they can remain for 3 or 4 days. Otherwise, it is possible to soak the stems in cold water and store them for 24 hours, outside the refrigerator.