Something I look forward to in the springtime is the fresh asparagus popping up in our garden. I avoid asparagus when it's not in-season. This gives me something to look forward to! Asparagus is a highly perishable veggie. Its nutrient levels and taste drop very quickly after being harvested. Ideally, asparagus should be eaten right after harvest, or within 2 days of purchase. If you notice that the bottoms of the stems have browned, cut them off. Place asparagus immediately into a jar with water when you purchase it. This will help the plant stay hydrated. Asparagus oxidizes very quickly. This means it looses oxygen and water (nutrients too) at a much higher rate than most veggies (most spring veggies are this way). By keeping them in water, you will help to slow this process down. Always select asparagus with tight tips. As soon as the tips begin to open, the asparagus is past its peek. If this happens in my garden, I let it go to frond (see image on right). The tips turn into the leaves of the plant. The plant can grow 1 foot a day! No joke! I have to check my patch sometimes in the morning, and at night so I don't miss any!
But why not grow your own?! Asparagus is a perennial and very easy to grow. It doesn't require much attention after it's established. It does however, take 2 years before you can harvest any, and up to 3 before you can harvest as much as you can. If you're interested in learning how, check out my link on How To Grow Asparagus. In case you don't know, asparagus grows straight from the ground, as shown below.
Pick a location where you're ok to devote to this amazing spring veggie. You will be SOOOO excited to pick your own. Most of the time it doesn't even make it into our house before it's eaten raw out in the garden. Growing your own is WAY cheeper, and the taste is like sweetened water. It's crisp and juicy and easy for the kiddos to harvest. You cannot go wrong.
Why asparagus? Beside making your pee smelly (a very fun side effect), asparagus is a great source of nutrients. It's rich in fiber, and is high in antioxidants like folate (great for pregnant women and developing brains), many of the B Vitamins, Vitamin C (boosts your immunity), selenium, and more. It's anti-inflammatory and great to help reduce inflammation in the body. It is also high in Vitamin K. This can be a problem for those on blood pressure meds like coumadin or warfrin. This is because, as a strong anti-inflammatory, it can mess with your clotting factors. If you are on a medication like this, speak to your doctor. You do NOT need to avoid eating green veggies. What you do need to do, is keep your intake constant. If you love these veggies (and they have so many benefits), don't cut them out. Tell you doctor you're eating them, and do so every day. The problem can arise when your levels fluctuate too much.
If you're looking for a delish and easy dish with some fresh asparagus, try my springtime quinoa.
I really encourage you to grow your own! If you have any questions on how to, please ask! I'm happy to help any budding gardener!