• Germany edition
 
10 things you didn't know about asparagus
Photo: Shutterstock

10 things you didn't know about asparagus

Published: 09 May 2014 15:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 May 2014 15:02 GMT+02:00

But it's not only Germans that hold the vegetable with great reverence. Asparagus has been hailed as a miracle vegetable since ancient times. The Local reveals ten odd aspara-facts.

1) Apparently eating asparagus, before and after drinking alcohol can have beneficial effects.

If you're planning a night out on the tiles, eating the vegetable before you start drinking could help protect your liver. The minerals and amino acids it contains not only protect the liver from toxins, the enzymes in asparagus can help break down the alcohol and alleviate hangovers.

2) Asparagus has been used as a medicine since ancient times. The earliest depiction of the vegetable was found on an Egyptian frieze dating back to 3,000 BC. Doctors and dentists were scarce in Ancient Greece, but the Greeks believed asparagus cured a number of ailments from toothache to heart disease.

3) Another health benefit - asparagus is also supposedly great for your sex-life. For centuries it has been regarded as a powerful aphrodisiac. Aside from its phallic shape, asparagus stirs up desire in both men and women. This is due to the large amounts of vitamin E present which stimulates the production of sex hormones. 

4) If you're planning on conceiving, asparagus is your vegetable. Asparagus is a source of high-quality vitamin C, which keeps sperm healthy, as well as increasing its volume and mobility.

5) Is there any end to this vegetable's talents? Not only is asparagus packed with nutrients and vitamins, it is rich in antioxidants, which means it can help fight the aging process.

6) Peru is the world's leading asparagus exporter, however the Peruvians seldom consume their own produce - 99% of the produce is exported across the world both fresh and processed. In 2013, asparagus covered the largest cultivation area of any vegetable being grown in Germany.

7) Asparagus has a short shelf-life and only very young asparagus is eaten. Once the buds start to open the asparagus becomes woody and unpalatable, which explains why the Spargel-eating season is so short. Beginning in mid-April, the fun abruptly stops on June 24th in Germany. According to tradition the springtime vegetable, disappears in the fires of St. John the Baptist's day (June 24th) – the first heat of summer.

8) The effect of asparagus on urine odour is well-known. “Asparagus pee” has a strong and distinct smell. But the majority of people cannot smell it. According to scientists, it takes a special gene to detect the smell, of which only 25 percent of the population have.

9) White asparagus is in fact the same as green asparagus but grown underground. German farmers plant their asparagus under mounds of soil called hillings. Deprived of sunlight which prevents the development of chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants), the spears stay white.

10) And last but not least, asparagus contains absolutely no fat or cholesterol – so perfect if you're trying to lose weight for the summer.

How to eat asparagus the German way

The most traditional way to eat fresh white asparagus is to boil it and serve with a butter or hollandaise sauce poured over the top. It is often eaten with boiled new potatoes and some slices of black forest ham. Delicious.  

SEE ALSO: Bad weather causes asparagus price hike

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Julie Colthorpe (julie.colthorpe@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,532
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd