Veggie of the month-Asparagus

Well, folks April kicks off my first month of highlighting a vegetable that we grow.  Included in these posts will be how to eat it and how to preserve it if possible!  Enjoy

I figured I’d start with Asparagus this month since it’s generally the first veggie we see (unless we left some spinach or lettuce in the greenhouse and it’s starting to grow about now!).  Asparagus is here for such a short time and I’ve made a goal with myself not to buy it since I now know that freshly picked asparagus is far superior to it’s grocery store counterpart.  It’s just one of those things to be enjoyed in the spring.

Asparagus is actually related to onions and garlic which are in the lily family.  Surprised?  I was… Asparagus is a delight and when eaten raw is very high in vitamin A, B-complex, and C.  It is also rich in potassium and zinc.  The most surprising thing about growing asparagus?  The big beautiful plant it turns into when it is left to go to seed!

Asparagus flowering

Asparagus flowering

The first time I tried fresh from the ground asparagus was a couple of years ago and I was shocked by it’s flavor (it reminded me a bit of a fresh pea).  I hardly ever cook asparagus unless it’s lightly steamed or grilled.  It’s just too good to cook!  When I do cook it, my favorite dishes are asparagus quiche, soup, and crepes with a mushroom sauce.

Asparagus generally needs its tough woody stem cut off.  To simplify this process simply hold the asparagus bunch in one hand and tap all the bottoms on the counter until they are even.  Cut about an inch off the whole bunch all at once.

To cook:  Arrange spears loosely in a skillet with an inch of boiling water.  Simmer 3-5 minutes until bright green and tender.  Do not overcook.  Remove from heat and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Serve warm with butter/olive oil, lemon, and parmesan if desired

To store: Wrap asparagus in a damp cloth and store in the hydrator drawer of the fridge.  Or place banded bunch with the stems in a cup of water in the fridge.

To preserve:  Asparagus freezes great.  Cut into pieces and put into boiling water until just bright green (about 1 minute) immediately put in ice water to blanch.  Place on a cookie sheet with parchment.  Once frozen transfer into bags or containers to store.  Asparagus is also great pickled.  Check your local extension office for ideas.

Recipes:

Roasted Asparagus -I’ve also grilled it using this same recipe

This -Looks amazing

Fancy Asparagus Quiche

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

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