Asparagus Archeology and History.
- Botanical Information of Asparagus Root.
- Botanical Description of Asparagus Officinalis.
- Phytochemical and Constituents of Asparagus.
- Asparagus Root Edible Uses.
- Asparagus Medicinal Action and Uses.
- Asparagus Archeology and History.
- Research Update:Asparagus and compositions.
- Suggestions and Administration Guide of Asparagus Root.
- Research Update:Asparagus officinalis.
Asparagus Archeology and History.
From Medieval Latin sparagus:
Asparagus are the vegetable obtained from one species within the genus Asparagus, specifically the young shoots of Asparagus officinalis. It has been used from very early times as a culinary vegetable, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties. There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius's 3rd century CE De re coquinaria, Book III.
White asparagus is cultivated by denying the plants light while they are being grown.
The English word "asparagus" derives from classical Latin, but the plant was once known in English as sperage, from the Medieval Latin sparagus. This term itself derives from the Greek aspharagos or asparagos, and the Greek term originates from the Persian asparag, meaning "sprout" or "shoot." The original Latin name has now supplanted the English word. Asparagus was also corrupted in some places to "sparrow grass"; indeed, John Walker stated in 1791 that "Sparrow-grass is so general that asparagus has an air of stiffness and pedantry."
In their simplest form, the shoots are boiled or steamed until tender and served with a light sauce like hollandaise or melted butter or a drizzle of olive oil with a dusting of Parmesan cheese. A refinement is to tie the shoots into sheaves and stand them so that the lower part of the stalks are boiled, while the more tender heads are steamed. Tall cylindrical asparagus cooking pots have liners with handles and perforated bases to make this process foolproof.
Unlike most vegetables, where the smaller and thinner are the more tender, thick asparagus stalks have more tender volume to the proportion of skin. When asparagus have been too long in the market, the cut ends will have dried and gone slightly concave. The best asparagus are picked and washed while the water comes to the boil. Fastidious cooks scrape asparagus stalks with a vegetable peeler, stroking away from the head, and refresh them in ice-cold water before steaming them; the peel is often added back to the cooking water and removed only after the asparagus is done, this is supposed to prevent diluting the flavor. Small or full-sized stalks can be made into asparagus soup. Cantonese restaurants in the United States often serve asparagus stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, or beef. Asparagus is one of few foods which is considered acceptable to eat with the hands in polite company, although this is more common in Europe.
Some of the constituents of asparagus are metabolised and excreted in the urine, giving it a distinctive, mildly unpleasant odor. The smell is caused by various sulfur-containing degradation products (e.g. thiols and thioesters).Studies showed that about 40% of the test subjects displayed this characteristic smell; and a similar percentage of people are able to smell the odor once it is produced. There does not seem to be any correlation between peoples' production and detection of the smell.
The history of the word asparagus is a good illustration of one of the peculiarities of English etymology-one found in few other languages. After the rebirth of classical learning during the Renaissance, Greek and Latin achieved a lofty status among the educated. As a result, etymologists and spelling reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries tried to give English a classical look by Latinizing or Hellenizing the spelling of words that had Latin or Greek ancestry (and even some that didn't). For example, Medieval Latin had a word sparagus, from Classical Latin asparagus, that was borrowed into Middle English and rendered as sparage or, more commonly, sperage. Botanists were familiar with the proper Latin version asparagus, and their use of that term together with the efforts of the etymologists caused the Latin form to become more widespread, eventually supplanting sperage. Thus, it is difficult to say whether the Modern English word asparagus is a direct continuation of Middle English sperage or a borrowing directly from Latin, a difficulty one encounters with hundreds of other words whose spellings and even pronunciations were Latinized during this time.The Latin form asparagus lives on in another guise as well; in the 1600s it was shortened in popular speech to sparagus, which became sparagrass, sparrowgrass by folk etymology.
No one seems quite sure where asparagus originated. Some believe it derived from a wild plant that grew thousands of years ago in sandy soil across northern Europe and in Britain, though asparagus is depicted in ancient Egyptian writings and has also been grown in Syria for more than two millennia.
The name asparagus comes from the Greek word asparagos, meaning sprout or shoot, which word first appears in English print around 1000 A.D. The Greeks and the Romans prized asparagus (Julius Caesar, Pliny, and Augustus all praised it, and Cato gave excellent growing instructions for it), both for its culinary value and for its alleged medicinal qualities--they believed asparagus could cure toothaches and prevent bee stings. They ate it fresh in season, and dried it for winter use.
Cultivation, and popularity, spread through Europe in the 16th century. Louis XIV of France was so fond of asparagus that he ordered special greenhouses built so he could enjoy it year round. From Europe, early colonists brought it to America; it is said that one Diederik Leertouwer, a Dutch immigrant who arrived in the U.S. in 1784 and settled in Massachusetts, first brough asparagus to the New World. It soon became well-enough known that Thomas Jefferson wrote well of it. Asparagus was first planted in California in the 1850s.
The History of Asparagus:
Asparagus was first cultivated 2000 years ago in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. The Greeks and Romans loved asparagus for its flavor, texture, and medicinal qualities. Roman emperors were so fond of asparagus that they kept special boats for the purpose of fetching it and called them the "Asparagus fleet". While the Greeks never seemed to garden asparagus, the Romans had specific directions on how to cultivate asparagus by 200 BC. They would eat the asparagus in season as well as preserve it for later consumption by freezing. Asparagus gained popularity in France in England in the 16th Century and was then introduced to North America. Native Americans would dry the asparagus for later medicinal uses. Asparagus has also been depicted in ancient Egyptian writings and was also grown in Syria and Spain in ancient times.
Asparagus derived its name from the ancient Greeks, who used the word to refer to all tender shoots picked and savored while very young. Asparagus is a member of the Lily family. Widely cultivated for its tender, succulent, edible shoots, asparagus cultivation began more than 2,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region. Greeks and Romans prized asparagus for its unique flavor, texture and alleged medicinal qualities. They ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in winter.
Early American Indians dried asparagus for use later or to make medicine. In the dry, arid lands it is especially useful as a natural diuretic or for bladder and kidney problems. It contains a factor in preventing small capillary blood vessels from rupturing and was used for heart problems. A wholesome vegetable drink can be made from the cooled cooking water of asparagus as long as it is not salted too heavily.
As early as 200 B.C. the Romans had how-to-grow directions for asparagus. They enjoyed it in season and were the first to preserve it by freezing. In the 1st Century fast chariots and runners took asparagus from the Tiber River area to the snowline of the Alps where it was kept for six months until the Feast of Epicurus. Roman emperors maintained special asparagus fleets to gather and carry the choicest spears to the empire. The characteristics of asparagus were so well-known to the ancients that Emperor Caesar Augustus described "haste" to his underlings as being "quicker than you can cook asparagus".
In the 16th Century, asparagus gained popularity in France and England. From there, the early colonists brought it to America. Asparagus is often called the "Food of Kings."King Louis XIV of France was so fond of this delicacy that he ordered special greenhouses built so he could enjoy asparagus all year-round!
One could say asparagus is truly an international food. With its high tolerance for salt and its preference for sandy soils, wild asparagus grows in such diverse places as England, Russia, Poland and Stidham, Oklahoma. Asparagus is depicted in ancient Egyptian writings. Asparagus has also been grown in Syria and Spain since ancient times.
Asparagus is highly versatile. In China, asparagus spears are candied and served as special treats. It is widely popular today as a scrumptious, fresh, and healthy vegetable. People throughout Europe, Asia, and North America use fresh asparagus in their favorite cuisine.
- 1.Asparagus Root is a highly regarded herb worldwide.
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