Thursday, July 1, 2010


We had an unseasonably hot May and June this year in Western Michigan. The local fruits and vegetables are two weeks early. Two weeks is a long time in a plants annual life. Our first official vegetable is asparagus. Have you ever looked at one closely? Greens, golds, purples all folded onto each tender, tall stalk. By the time my farmers market opened (at Fulton and Fuller Streets in Grand Rapids), the asparagus was ready – and so was I. The marked opens the first of May, and until the past few years, asparagus was not ready to pick until mid-May each year. That makes me wonder about our climate.

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) there were over 11,000 acres of asparagus planted in Michigan in 2009. It is low in calories and has 3 grams of fiber per 5.3 ounce serving. We store ours in the refrigerator in large yogurt containers with the cut ends sitting in water. It stays fresh for over a week this way. Wash asparagus thoroughly by swishing it in a sink of water. The tips tend to hold sand from the soil.

Asparagus season has just about wrapped up now РI will check the Farmers Market this weekend hoping to score some of the last harvest. I made the best of the season! I ate it in risotto, soup, green salad, potato salad, stir fry, and omelets, with pasta, on pizza, and dipped in aioli. I ate it roasted, grilled, steamed, and saut̩ed. How did you eat your asparagus?

I have tried freezing raw asparagus, but it is just not the same. I suppose it would be ok if used in soup. Have you had any luck preserving asparagus? Let us know.

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