As a child, one of my favourite vegetables was asparagus. Asparagus, a cousin to garlic, is one of those strange-looking green (sometimes white or purple) vegetables that send many kids running. Why did I like it? Well, I think it’s partly because I doused the steamed, green spears in salt and butter. But it's probably also because every Spring I helped my mom and dad scour the ditches along the Iowa highways for wild asparagus. As I got older, I was not as willing to help with this task (sorry, mom!), but I secretly enjoyed the scavenger hunt and the winnings that came with it. Although I haven’t been able to forage these gems in the last few years, I still like to add asparagus to anything when it’s in season: pastas, frittatas, salads, and so on. (And I may even enjoy grilling it on occasion with bacon wrapped around it…)
What’s So Good About Asparagus?
One cup of asparagus is not only a good source of dietary fibre and protein, but is a very good source iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and many of the B-vitamins (especially Thiamin and Riboflavin).
When & Where Can I Buy It?
This Spring vegetable is synonymous with the beginning of the growing season! Try to buy locally, and look for asparagus coming up in May and June in Ontario. For my friends down in the United States, asparagus season is generally April to mid-June, but may be earlier or later depending on where you live.
Asparagus can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores or at farmer’s markets. Or like my childhood self — forage the country ditches for the plant. Check out this nifty map by the USDA to see where wild asparagus grows in the U.S.
What Should I Look For?
When buying asparagus, choose asparagus spears that are straight, crisp, and closed green or purple tips. It should also have a fresh scent vs. a musty scent. I try to look for asparagus bunches that have similar width so the spears cook for the same amount of time as well.
How Should I Store & Prepare It?
Once purchased, store asparagus in the refrigerator. The spears should be standing up in water — this will prevent them from wilting. That being said, it’s best when consumed within the first few days after purchase.
Before seasoning and cooking the asparagus, make sure to rinse the spears under cold water to remove any remaining dirt. Then remove the woody parts of the spears. This can best be done by holding the spears and snapping off the woody ends one at a time.
After it’s been cleaned, the asparagus spears are ready to be steamed, roasted, grilled, or cooked whatever way you like! Below is my go-to recipe for simple roasted asparagus!
So what about you? Have you ever tried hunting in ditches for wild asparagus? What is your family's go-to asparagus recipe? Share the recipe below!
Need some more inspiration as to how you can add asparagus into your Springtime menu? Check out these tasty recipes below!
Asparagus & Feta Cheese Crustless Quiche
Asparagus, Tomato and Feta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Spring Peanut Pad Thai
Tuscan Roasted Asparagus
Yields: 2-3 servings
Total Time: <30 minutes
1 bunch of asparagus
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
Hello, I'm Erin – a follower of Christ, wife, mama of two, and registered dietitian. Welcome to my blog where I write about intentional motherhood, intuitive eating, inspired discipleship, and whatever else I feel like!
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