What Makes Jersey Giant Asparagus Unique

You may have always considered asparagus one of your favorite foods. After all, it can make for a simple yet savory snack if you roast a batch of it with a little butter. And you can even use the well-loved veggie to add an extra punch of flavor to a simple avocado toast breakfast or a complex black cod dinner. But did you know that Egyptians loved asparagus so much that they offered it to the gods (via the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction)? And that the ancient people of Greek and Rome thought the plant was a delicacy?

In truth, it may be a little hard to imagine asparagus, a vegetable so common that Americans eat more than 500 million pounds of it every year (per the United States Department of Agriculture), was ever considered sacred. But the plant does provide people with a significant amount of benefits. According to WebMD, asparagus, which is full of folic acid, fiber, and various vitamins, is one of the world's top-ranking vegetables in terms of nutritional value. Although any variety of asparagus that ends up on your plate will be good for your health and a delight for your taste buds, one type of asparagus is more worthy of worship than others. If you haven't heard of Jersey Giant asparagus, you've been seriously missing out. Here's what makes this asparagus variety a veggie standout.

What is Jersey Giant asparagus?

Compared to other varieties, Jersey Giant asparagus became a player in the United States agricultural game only fairly recently. According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, asparagus as a whole originally found its way to America in hands of colonists in the 1600s. However, Harvesting History reports that Jersey Giant asparagus didn't make it on the scene until 1985. The reason for the time gap? Unlike other types of asparagus, the Jersey Giant variety didn't come from nature — it came from a lab.

Created by New Jersey college Rutgers University (per Rutgers University), Master Class reports that the Jersey Giant is a hybrid plant built to be larger and sturdier than other asparagus varieties. In fact, Jersey Giant asparagus isn't only "disease-resistant" and capable of flourishing even in harsh winter weather. According to Phytotheca, it also won't go bad from crown rot or rust as fast as most types of asparagus. Not to mention, Master Class notes the plant's spears can grow almost nine inches tall.

What makes Jersey Giant different from other asparagus varieties?

The Jersey Giant differs from other asparagus varieties in a number of ways. However, one of the most notable differences is that it's a male-only hybrid, McKay Nursery Company notes that Jersey Giant asparagus grows more spears than traditional varieties. Since all of its energy is focused on its growth rather than on creating seeds, it can actually produce up to four times more crops than other types of asparagus.

Another trait that sets Jersey Giant asparagus apart from other types is its ability to flourish under nearly any circumstances. For example, Master Class reports that varieties like Mary Washington asparagus require partial or full sun to grow well. However, Jersey Giant asparagus can successfully grow in nearly any climate.

Keep in mind, you may want to turn to a different type of asparagus if you're looking for a more tender vegetable. As Master Class notes, Purple Passion asparagus tends to be the best variety to use in salad thanks to its soft texture. And Precoce D'Argenteuil asparagus will make for a sweet side to pair with your steak. But when it comes to durability and size, Jersey Giant asparagus undoubtedly has most varieties beat.