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 determine 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 generously produce for about 15 or 20 years, it’s worth it to give transplants a good start in a permanent home.
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. In the rare event that I have too much asparagus to use while fresh, freezing is the best way to preserve the color and flavor.
8-10 fresh asparagus spears (or one bunch)
3 Cups water
(salt to taste)
10-12 ounces fettuccine
2 Tablespoons butter (or 1Tablespoon 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 length. 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 desired doneness. 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 Tablespoons of toasted walnuts. Serves four. Enjoy this recipe by Patsy Bell Hobson. I’ll post more recipes if there is a request for them.
BONUS: this recipe for Roasted Fresh California Asparagus with Pecorino Romano Cheese from the California Asparagus Commission.
The best way to establish an asparagus bed is at 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..
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 and vegetable garden.
This time, as I establish a permanent asparagus bed, I’m starting with all male asparagus plants – Jersey types. Plus, there really is a bonus, all male plants produce more spears than female plants. Asparagus is not for the birds. Buy bird seed instead.