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Faster than cooking asparagus!

Caio Augusto Garcia11. May 2017

 

When Gaius Octavius (first Roman emperor) wanted something done fast, he used to say to his subjects: “Velocius quam asparagi conquantur!”. It means quicker than boiling asparagus.

And man, that is quick, especially for those of us who like our vegetables “al dente”. Augustus was so fond of asparagus that he even set up a special military unit, called the Asparagus Fleet. Their objective was to find the best spears (eatable part of the asparagus plant) in the empire and ship them back to Rome. The romans would eat them fresh or take them to the Alps to freeze. There is even a recipe for asparagus in the oldest surviving cookbook; a Roman book of recipes called Apicius’s.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a perennial plant, meaning that once you plant it, you can harvest it for many years. The plant is related to garlic and onions and once they belonged to the same family (taxonomic rank), but now they are split into two different families. Yes, you read it correctly. It happens, even for vegetables.

You can find asparagus in three different versions; green, white and purple. They are the same plant. However, the white asparagus is white due to a bleaching technique used by farmers, who cover the stems with soil. The purple asparagus is just a different variety, which originated in the Italian region of Albenga, usually called Violetto d’Albenga.

Regardless of the variety, asparagus have an interesting effect on your urine. You probably heard about the bad smell asparagus give to the pee, but the chances that you never smelled it are high. Studies in this area are still unclear so it has not been determined why some people cannot sense any different odour in their urine. It could be because they do not produce any different smell, or just because they are unable to detect it.

What we do know for sure is that asparagus taste good. The bittersweet, grassy and buttery aromas found in asparagus go very well sautéed, roasted or grilled – alone or accompanied. You can use Plant Jammer to pair it with a variety of other delicious and healthy vegetables and other foods. Try it out here!

Asparagus will also be the main theme of our workshop at Heartland festival on the island of Fyn from the 2nd – 4th of June. Come get some more insights on asparagus and food pairing and try some delicious asparagus dishes prepared by our friend and cook, Thomas Jacobsen.