Asparagus: Eat with Your Fingers


My love affair with food goes back many years. As a young child there were only a few foods that I would not eat, one was parsnips and the other asparagus. Today, I still struggle with parsnips but asparagus, well that is another story.

My wife loves asparagus and for almost 25 years I would buy it and prepare it for her, usually steamed with a touch of butter, and eat one or maybe two stalks myself. That was all I could handle.

One day, I was out visiting a friend who had a small organic farm. He raised garlic for the marketplace and a few other crops for himself. Asparagus was one. At lunch he served a soup and when I asked him what kind it was he said asparagus. My stomach tightened but I had to be polite so I accepted the bowl with a hunk of warm homemade bread and, surprise, it was quite tasty. Now my friend loves garlic and just about anything he cooks includes garlic. I too love garlic and the soup was well seasoned with it so maybe that is what sparked the change.

About one week later I was back at the farm and walking the fields. We stopped for a bit as there was a black bear in the distance and we wanted to watch which way it was going before moving. The farm was located in a fairly remote section of northern Ontario. The bear ambled on about its business and we continue on ours.

He was harvesting some asparagus. After we had gathered all that was ready, he offered me a raw stalk. I looked at it and recoiled internally, then remembered the soup. Tentatively I reached out and accepted the offering. Watching him eat his stalk I did the same. To me relief and surprise it was very tasty.

Now asparagus is a food that is meant to be eaten by hand when steamed and I always wanted to enjoy it because there is something very primitive about not using a knife and fork to consume food. However until the trip to my friend’s farm, I was limited in my enjoyment.

It is quite possible that the organic and fresh asparagus, that my friend served me, was a very different taste experience from the asparagus that I was usually able to buy in the local supermarket. It is alos possible that this difference is what changed my eating habits. Now, I eat asparagus as eagerly as my wife, I prefer to steam it lightly and then add a touch of butter. I use my fingers to hold the stalk and dip it into the melted butter.

I do not know anyone locally who grows asparagus and must buy it, in season, when the stalks are young and thin. The thick stalks are too woody and while they can be cut and used in a vegetable soup stock, I prefer to eat the whole thing. I will on rare occasions slice the asparagus for a stir fry but my preferred way to eat them is one stalk at a time, using my hands, without a fork or knife in sight.

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Comments 28 comments

grillrepair profile image

grillrepair 6 years ago from florida

i can't do it. they just seem all mushy and gross. are they not all mushy and soggy when steamed? i haven't tried in years but still remember coughing them up the last time i was feeling open-minded.

Katherine Baldwin profile image

Katherine Baldwin 6 years ago from South Carolina

Hi Bob, we love asparagus too. It can be served many ways and steamed is also our favorite. This hub reminded me of the time I was teaching a friend of mine to cook. I was having a few friends over for dinner and she was helping with the prep work. Asparagus was on the menu and I showed her how to break the ends off by placing her hands on each end and bending to let the asparagus break at the optimal point. She was still working on it when the doorbell rang and I went to let my first guest in. I heard the disposal running and when I returned to the kitchen, she had put the tips down the disposal, lol. She thought that was the throw away part! I really had to restrain myself.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

gr, steam for two minutes, they are fine. KB that is a good story, a bit sad but good. Thank you both for dropping by.

Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

This sounds great! It is one of my favorites...

msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

I love asparagus and yes, I do eat it with my hands :-)

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thank you both for dropping by, enjoy.

Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

the asparagus soup sounded good...I have heard that asparagus grows in the wild by roadsides...have you heard anything like that?

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Asparagus can grow wild, I have not seen it but have been told by others they have and see no reason why this would not be so.

Maggie-May profile image

Maggie-May 6 years ago from the Island of Cape Breton to the Eastern Shores near Halifax, NS

You must try dipping your steamed asparagus in heated dijon mustard butter. Just add some mild dijon mustard and a small amount of freshly minced garlic to your heated/melted butter. And, another time try adding a small amount of grated lemon peel and add to the mixture--a nice blend of flavors. Nice Hub Bob!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

OK, that does sound good and I do have to try it when I next have asparagus, thanks.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I love asparagus, whichever way, as soup, as vegetables or cold as salad.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for dropping by.

Russell-D profile image

Russell-D 6 years ago from Southern Ca.

Bob -- have you ever been in mid urope in May during the Spargl season,

when the white asparagus is served breakfast, lunch and dinner with

Hollandaise Sauce. It's to die for. David

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Fresh food is best enjoyed when it is in season, Hollandaise sauce that could be good.

J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hey Bob, Great Hub!

My wife and I love asparagus and we just planted some the other day. We'll see what happens!

J.S. Matthew

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks, happy gardening

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Hey Bob a man after my own heart, fingers were made before forks right? I even lick them occasionally. Asparagus one of my favorite veggies, a touch of butter and pepper and salt, of course all organic only. Yes Bob, my pardner and I are strong proponents of Organic eating and we shop very carefully. Great post, I gave you a big VOTE..thanks for the share.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

You are welcome and enjoy.

Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor

Ooooh! My favourite vegetable. I really pig out in May! Butter, hollandaise, Mmm mm.

Also like Samphire grass, similar taste, but salty!

Great hub!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for dropping by.

profile image

Earthbeat 6 years ago

I love asparagus. Risk is of overcooking it. And eating with the hand is always good. People from India traditionally eat their food with the right hand. I was introduced to Indian food and eating it the traditional way 40 years; there is indeed something unique and pleasurable about eating with one's hand.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Eating with your hands bring you into direct contact with your food and makes the eating experience more intimate, thanks for dropping by.

Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

Hi Bob, great hub and I love asparagus, steamed, whole, drizzled with butter and topped with parmesan shavings and plenty of freshly milled black pepper um...Used to holiday in the Isle Of Wight (UK) where they have asparagus and garlic farms, and annual food festivals celebrating both. Great fan of home grown produce - I've just started chillis, and already grow herbs. Thanks.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

You are welcome, food festivals are great. thanks for commenting.

profile image

Gigi Thibodeau 6 years ago

This is a great hub about a vegetable that I love, too. Like you, I think steamed asparagus is great eaten by hand, and dipped in butter. I also like to roast it in olive oil with a little salt and pepper. I adore white asparagus, too, when I can get it. I was at a very high end restaurant recently where they serve roasted asparagus sprinkled with chopped roasted peanuts. It sounds a little strange, I know, but it was delicious!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

The chopped roasted peanuts sound tasty, thanks for your comment.

stacebird profile image

stacebird 5 years ago from Washington DC

I discovered asparagus a few years ago and now I can't wait to have a place of my own and grow them by the bundle!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for dropping by.

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