May is National Asparagus Month, so in celebration of the skinny green spear, we’ve rounded up 10 facts you may not have known about this vegetable:

1. It was prized by ancient Romans and Greeks as a rare delicacy. They believed it helped cure anything from bee stings to tooth aches.

2. It’s one of the oldest recorded vegetables in history. Imagine that. Maybe even Alexander the Great himself was noshing on asparagus.

3. The reason it makes your urine smell is due to a sulfurous compound found in asparagus called Mercaptan (the same thing found in rotten eggs!).

4. And not everyone’s pee smells funny after eating asparagus – apparently both the production of the smell and the ability to even smell it has something to do with our genes!

5. Asparagus is part of the Lily family which also includes onions, garlic and tulips. Yes, tulips.

6. Asparagus is among the vegetables that provide the highest amount of folic acid. It’s also full of Vitamins A, C, and K, and only contains 4 calories per spear. So eat up!

7. Like coffee, it’s a natural diuretic. So perhaps eating asparagus can become a new trend in beating PMS-bloat – what do you think ladies?

8.There are three types of asparagus – traditional green, white, and purple. The white asparagus is grown underground, which means it never sees sunlight = no photosynthesis = no green color.

9. California grows almost 80% of all asparagus grown in the United States.

10. It takes 3 entire years from an asparagus seed being planted to the point where it can harvested for a full season.

Not sure what to do with this month’s vegetable Du Jour? Check out some of these recipes for inspiration:

Garlic Roasted Asparagus

Grilled Pancetta-Wrapped Asparagus

Asparagus Potato Salad

Colorful Chicken Pesto with Asparagus, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Peppers

 – Esther Carlstone

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