Kissin’ Cousins: Would you believe asparagus is a member of the Lily family? That means it’s related to onions, garlic, and leeks. It sure doesn’t taste like its kin, but things that grow together go together, so no wonder asparagus is a winner when cooked with any of them.
Four Years From Seed to Spears: That’s how long commercial growers allow. It takes a year—and a depletion of the earth—for the seed to grow into a crown. The crown is dug up and transplanted to deep furrows in a new area of nutrient-rich soil. A few spears will develop in the first year after transplanting, but crowns need about three years to build up the strength to produce prolific numbers of spears for fifteen years or more.
Male Asparagus Produce More Spears: Come on, are we surprised? Asparagus plants are either male or female, but the energy females need to create seeds reduces the number of stalks they produce. Whether male or female, a stalk can grow an inch an hour in warm weather.
Folic Acid Factory: In the vegetable world, it’s the one with the most folic acid. And that’s important for pregnant women—to help prevent spina bifida—and the rest of us in terms of heart and artery health.
The Aromatic Urine Club: Are you a member? Ever noticed a distinctive smell to your urine after eating asparagus? Although many people produce the odor, some do not. Meanwhile, some of those who do produce it are unable to detect it, and there are even a few who neither produce it nor smell it, according to the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Who knew?