Saturday, April 23, 2011
KONIGSGEMUSE (ROYAL VEGETABLE)
The simple, delicate, delicious plant asparagus is referred to in Germany as the Royal vegetable. Grown initially extensively around the now Stuttgart area around the 16th century,this vegetable was meant for the royals. The whole of Deutschland has caught on to it and it is the favourite vegetable of every person high or low. And now is the season till end June. I used to visit Koenigse, a small town in the East of Germany for many years. Coinicidentally, I would be in Germany every year during the "Spargel saison" (Asparagus season). My hosts knowing my vegetarian food habit would stuff me with asparagus- either in the form of a freshly cooked vegetable or as puree or soup. It was Spargel for lunch and Spargel for dinner. In India, it is called Shatavari and is also a seasonal vegetable.
I decided to post a blog on this subject when I received an email from my daughter's mom-in-law on the medicinal properties of asparagus. During the Renaissance, asparagus was valued for its many medicinal qualities against a variety of ailments. It is also considered to be an aphrodisiac. Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and folate, and the stalks are high in fibre. People who have consumed it have sworn by its efficacy in curing fully-blown cancer and also in dissolving kidney stones. If you don't take butter sauce along with it, asparagus can be considered to be a low-calorie food.
'Asparagus officinalis' is a leafy plant whose young shoots are known to us as the vegetable asparagus. In Europe, it is one of the first vegetables of spring. There are two varieties of asparagus, the green and the white. The green one is more common in USA. The Germans prefer it white. German farmers keep the sun away so that they don't turn green with the growth of chlorophyll. Germans consume about 70,000 tonnes of this vegetable every year. Most of it is grown in Germany.
Passionate consumers of asparagus make this a passionate vegetable too!