Fresh is always best.
Visit the local farmers market or grow your own.
Asparagus grows so fast you can almost see it. In good weather, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period. Each crown sends up spears for about 6-7 weeks during the spring.
The outdoor temperature determines how much time will be between each picking. Early in the season, there may be 4-5 days between pickings and as the days and nights get warmer, you may have to pick every day.
It is a lot of hard work to establish a good asparagus bed. Considering that the plants will produce steadily for about 15 or 20 years, it’s worth it to give asparagus crowns a good start in a permanent home.
I bought asparagus crowns at http://www.gurneys.com
The diameter of the spear does not indicate the quality or flavor of the vegetable. As the plants become older, the stems become larger in diameter.
Asparagus is high in Folic Acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamine.
- Stock up on asparagus while it is fresh and locally grown. Freezing is the best way to preserve the color and flavor.
Fettuccine with asparagus, nutmeg, fresh lemon, Parmesan cheese.
My favorite asparagus recipe
◊Fettuccine with Asparagus
8-10 fresh asparagus spears (or one bunch)
3 Cups water (salt to taste)
10-12 ounces fettuccine
2 Tablespoons butter (or 1 tablespoon margarine and 1 Tablespoon olive oil)
Juice of one small lemon
freshly ground pepper to taste
freshly ground nutmeg to taste (1/4 teas)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Cut each spear on the bias in one inch lengths. Bring water to boil (add salt to taste). Add asparagus, when water returns to boil, cook one minute.
Drain and reserve three or four Tablespoons cooking liquid. Drop fettuccine in water, cook to Al Dente. Drain.
Heat butter in pot that cooked fettuccine. Add asparagus, pasta, pepper, cooking liquid and lemon. Toss to blend.
Sprinkle on nutmeg. Serve with cheese on the side. For variety, add a couple of Tablespoons of toasted walnuts or chopped parsley.
Enjoy this original recipe for ◊Fettuccine with Asparagus
◊ Must try recipe for Sweet and Spicy Szechuan Asparagus from the California Asparagus Commission.
◊ Growing Asparagus in Missouri guide sheet
which illustrates the parts of an asparagus plant, clear care instructions and the best way to start an asparagus bed.
What I’ve learned
I started my first asparagus bed with older heirloom varieties. The plants were productive and the produce was tasty. Plus, there was a bonus, I thought. Asparagus is a dioecious plant which simply means they are separate female and male plants. Oh yea! Even the birds will be happy enjoying the red berries or seed on the female asparagus plants.
Well, those seed are the reason we think that sometimes we find wild asparagus plants. All those little asparagus plants springing up from seed, come up with the vigor and enthusiasm of a weed These cute but scrawny baby asparagus plants self seed everywhere – in the yard, flower beds, sidewalk cracks and vegetable garden.
This time, as I establish a permanent asparagus bed, I’m starting with
Asparagus officinalis “Purple Passion”
Purple Passion asparagus has burgundy colored spears with 20% more natural sugar than green asparagus. The sweet, tender, almost nutty flavored stalks are both cold and heat tolerant.
Very productive. Male and female plants. Self-pollinating.