Asparagus comes in many colors—from yellow to white, green, purple, and even red. Purple asparagus is not a hybrid of another kind of asparagus. It’s the result of putting purple asparagus plants in soil that contains high levels of iron and sulfur. The plants take up those minerals and turn into purple asparagus. In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about purple asparagus. We’ll cover where it comes from, how to cook it, and its health benefits. So keep reading if you want to learn more about this unique form of asparagus.
What is Purple Asparagus?
Asparagus is a perennial plant with edible shoots that are either green or purple. The green shoots are most common, while purple asparagus is less common but still available in some areas. The purple color is caused by anthocyanin, a compound that is also responsible for the purple color of red cabbage, blueberries, and blackcurrants.
The shoots can be eaten both raw and cooked. Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, manganese, and folate. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and copper. The health benefits of asparagus are the same for both varieties. However, some of the anthocyanin in purple asparagus may be lost when cooked.
Where Does Purple Asparagus Come From?
The purple color of purple asparagus comes from anthocyanin, a plant pigment also found in red wine, blueberries, and blackberries. This plant pigment is what gives purple asparagus its vibrant color. Anthocyanin is also found in the soil, so to get purple asparagus, you need to grow it in soil that contains large amounts of iron and sulfur. These nutrients are found in soil in tropical and subtropical regions, so purple asparagus is more common in those parts of the world.
How to Cook Purple Asparagus?
As with any other type of asparagus, the best way to cook purple asparagus is to steam it. You can also boil or grill it, but as boiling will draw out more of the anthocyanin, it’s probably best to grill or bake the asparagus. There are a few things to bear in mind when cooking purple asparagus:
– Steaming is the best method for cooking purple asparagus. Boiling for too long will strip the purple color from the asparagus, so you should keep the cooking time to a minimum.
– Roasting works great for purple asparagus. You can either toss the asparagus with some oil and roast it in the oven, or you can put it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and roast it in the oven.
– Purple asparagus cooks quickly so check it regularly to make sure you don’t overcook it.
– Purple asparagus should be eaten steamed or roasted. Boiling it in water will cause the anthocyanin to leach out and fade the color.
Health Benefits of Eating Purple Asparagus
– Asparagus is high in vitamins K, B6, and E, manganese, and potassium, all of which are essential for good health.
– Asparagus is also a good source of fiber, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers.
– Asparagus has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect, which may help people with conditions like arthritis.
– Asparagus is a great source of folic acid, which is important for brain health during pregnancy and early infancy.
– Asparagus contains terpenes that have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
– Asparagus contains kaempferol and caffeic acid, which are powerful antioxidants.
– Asparagus also contains the amino acid glutamic acid, which in large doses can be toxic to the nervous system.
Nutrition Facts for Purple Asparagus
The nutrition facts for purple asparagus are likely to be very similar to green asparagus. Purple asparagus has anthocyanin, which may reduce the amount of vitamin C and potassium that your body absorbs. – Purple asparagus is rich in vitamin K, manganese, and fiber. It also contains a moderate amount of vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, and potassium.
Purple asparagus is also a good source of ferulic acid, which is an antioxidant. One cup of purple asparagus contains about 33 calories and 2 grams of protein.
Is There a Dark Side to This Rainbow?
As with many things, eating too much purple asparagus or taking supplements of anthocyanin may cause negative health effects. When you eat purple asparagus, your body breaks down the anthocyanin, which triggers the release of hydrogen cyanide. In small amounts, hydrogen cyanide is harmless. It’s toxic only in large amounts.
In addition, anthocyanin is also known to reduce the amount of vitamin C and potassium that your body can absorb. Eating too much purple asparagus may lead to vitamin C and potassium deficiency. As with all foods, moderation is key. And you can enjoy the purple color of asparagus in moderation without the need for supplements or worry about negative side effects.
Asparagus is a unique vegetable that comes in many colors, including purple. Purple asparagus is a good source of vitamins K, B6, and E, as well as fiber and manganese. It also contains healthful antioxidants and may help prevent certain types of cancers. If you like the sound of purple asparagus, make sure you buy it when it’s in season. It’s best to grow your own if you can during the spring months when the plant is most abundant. And if you can’t find purple asparagus where you live, don’t worry; green asparagus is just as nutritious and delicious.