Sometimes referred to as the aristocrat of vegetables, asparagus has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. It was prized by ancient Greeks and Romans for its taste and reputed medicinal qualities, and 19th-century French bridegrooms, believing it was an aphrodisiac, frequently ate several helpings on the eve of their nuptials. The crop reaches its peak during April and May.
Packing a fiber-filled punch of vitamins A and C, this princely veggie also delivers significant helpings of folate and rutin, which help to strengthen blood vessels. Its delicate flavor is best preserved by stir-frying or light steaming.