Why you should never eat asparagus berries

If you only buy asparagus at the grocery store or farmers market, you're probably just used to seeing bundles of green spears. But if you grow your own asparagus, you'll see that the plant also produces tiny, bright red berries. They might look tasty and tempting, but steer clear – asparagus berries are toxic and can cause some pretty nasty symptoms if you eat them.

According to Modern Farmer, even eating a handful of the red berries produced by asparagus plants can have adverse results, like vomiting and diarrhea. So if you grow your own asparagus, make sure you don't pick any berries, and grow the plants in an area where kids and pets can't accidentally eat any. SFGate also reports that the berries are usually only about 6 to 10 millimeters in diameter, so while their color should stand out against the plant, they're small enough that it's possible to miss them even if you're looking for them.

Asparagus stalks can also be toxic

According to SFGate, even though you've probably eaten them before, young asparagus shoots also have the potential to be toxic. However, unlike the berries, they'll probably only cause a mild reaction, if you notice any symptoms at all. Usually, you'll only have a reaction to raw asparagus if you're allergic to it, or if you handle a ton of shoots. Still, it's possible to develop a rash wherever you've touched raw asparagus. If you cook the stalks, it should eliminate any potential toxicity, and you shouldn't have a reaction.

You probably don't have anything to worry about though, even from raw asparagus stalks. According to Healthline, raw asparagus is safe to eat, though it might taste a little better if you cook it first. When it's raw, the plant's fibers can be pretty tough, which makes it a little difficult to eat, but if you cut or peel the stalks into thin pieces, they'll be much easier to chew. Overall, unless you're allergic, you don't have much to worry about from raw asparagus, as long as you don't eat the berries.