Fresh Asparagus Recipes and Quick Grow Guide
Fresh Asparagus Can't Be Beat
Find everything you need to know about fresh asparagus right here! Learn how to grow asparagus, how to cook it and even some tasty recipes.
Fresh asparagus is delicious on it's own but by adding a few simple ingredients you can turn a simple side dish into an elegant affair that your entire family will adore. It is extremely high in vitamins A, C and E. It contains calcium, folic acid, magnesium and iodine making it not only delicious but really good for you too.
You can find fresh asparagus all year but it is the most affordable in the springtime, that's why it's so popular at Easter.
A Pan of Green Goodness
Easy Asparagus Prep Tool
How to Prepare Fresh Asparagus for Cooking
How to cook asparagus
Learning how to cook asparagus is easy. The hard part will be deciding how you want to prepare this highly nutritious yet utterly delicious vegetable.
How to Prepare Fresh Asparagus for Cooking
If you don't grow your own, fresh asparagus usually comes from the supermarket with a rubber band holding the spears together. You'll want to remove this first by either slipping the spears out or cutting it.
Carefully wash your asparagus spears by holding them under running water to remove any grit or dirt from them.The tough bottom ends of your asparagus spears will need to be removed. You can do this in one of two ways. The easiest way is by simply cutting them off with a sharp knife, about an inch and a half from the bottom.
Using this method produces asparagus spears of even lengths but can sometimes leave a bit of the tough part of the stem intact. Using a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin on the bottom portion of the stem will eliminate this problem.
I prefer to remove the tough woody parts of the stem by breaking them off.
To do this you need to hold the bottom portion of the stem in one hand and the top portion in your other hand. Gently bend your asparagus spear in half and it will break where the tender portion meets the tough part. Your spears may not be very even in length and you might think you are wasting a lot of the asparagus but for the tenderest asparagus, this is the way to go.
Save the tough woody parts for making vegetable stock later.
How to Cook Fresh Asparagus
Asparagus can be cooked in many different ways.
You can boil it, steam it, stir-fry, roast, grill ,sauté, microwave, or deep fry it after dipping it in bread crumbs.
Fresh asparagus can be baked into casseroles or added to soups. It goes well in omelets or quiche and very tender young fresh asparagus is even delicious raw when cut into short slices and added to a salad.
The most important thing to remember when cooking fresh asparagus is not to overcook it. Asparagus is at its best when cooked only tender crisp.Overcooking causes asparagus to lose much of its nutrition and the soggy texture can be a real turn off which is why canned or jarred asparagus from the grocery store isn't recommended for use in recipes.
Did You Know?
Asparagus is actually a flower and is a member of the lily family.
Easy Boiled Asparagus Recipe
This is the simplest asparagus recipe you will ever find but sometimes simple is best!
1 pound fresh asparaguswater for boiling
1 Tablespoon butter
dash of salt
After properly preparing your asparagus, see above, lay the spears, in the same direction in a large fry pan.
Add an inch or two of water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Reduce temperature and simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes. (A bit longer if using thick stemmed asparagus)
Remove from pan and top with butter and salt.
Serve it in style!
Fresh Asparagus Sauted with Garlic Recipe
Simple yet elegant, this dish is perfect when served alongside beef, fish or chicken.
1 bunch fresh asparagus
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons margarine
Using a large fry pan, melt the margarine over medium heat.
As soon as the margarine has melted, add the fresh asparagus and garlic.
Cover and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the asparagus is crisp tender, stirring it gently every 2 minutes or so.
Place asparagus on a serving dish and serve immediately.
- One Bunch Asparagus, Prepared as noted above.
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
- Salt and Pepper, To Taste
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a large bowl, toss asparagus with Olive Oil to coat.
- Place asparagus on a roasting pan or cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast asparagus in the oven for approximately 10 minutes until crisp tender.
- Remove from pan and place on serving dish.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
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More Awesome Asparagus Recipes
Links to some of the best asparagus recipe collections I've found on the web.
The Asparagus Festival Cookbook - Asparagus Cookbook
THE ASPARAGUS FESTIVAL COOKBOOK highlights the prize-winning recipes from cook-offs past and present, with dishes to please even the pickiest vegetable eaters.
The Authors, JAN MOORE, BARBARA HAFLY, GLENDA HUSHAW, and JACQUELINE ZUPO are all members of the Stockton Asparagus Festival Cookbook Committee in Stockton, California.
Grow Some at Home
A Quick Guide to Growing Asparagus
Nothing compares to the taste of home-grown, freshly picked asparagus. Follow this quick guide to get yours growing today.
Before planting, choose your asparagus site carefully because with its long term perennial nature you will be living with it for a long, long time. If planted correctly in rich, well-draining, slightly acid soil where it receives the proper amount of sunlight your asparagus patch can thrive for fifteen to twenty years.
It's a good idea to plant your asparagus away from the main portion of your garden, where it won't be disturbed and in full sun to light shade.
Asparagus produces both male and female plants. The female plants are pollinated by the blooms of the male plants and produce red berries in the fall. The berries contain seeds that self-sow. For best results, look for varieties that produce mostly male shoots such as Jersey Giant because over time too many females can result in overcrowding in your asparagus bed.
Asparagus plants should be three years old before you begin to harvest from them.
Asparagus needs to go through a dormancy period each year and doesn't do well in frost-free parts of the country.
How To Grow Asparagus
You can start asparagus either from seed, or from one to two year-old shoots purchased at a gardening center. Remember that you can't pick any until the plant is three years old. Starting with seeds can mean a long wait before you get to taste any of your crop.
If you are starting with shoots, soak them in water overnight before planting them, to give them a good head start. Plant asparagus shoots 18 inches apart, in trenches dug 12 inches wide and 15 inches deep. Cover the roots with only two inches of soil. Mound the leftover soil on the sides to be used later. Asparagus rows should be approximately 4 feet apart.As the asparagus stalks grow during the summer, you will need to carefully apply the excess soil (from your mound) until your trenches are full and the soil is level throughout your asparagus patch.Use a layer of mulch to help keep the weeds down and remove any that come up immediately because you won't be able to cultivate the soil in this area for many years.
Water often when newly planted until your asparagus plants are established and better able to withstand dry spells.If you really don't mind the wait and prefer to start with seeds, follow the directions for planting on the back of the package.
How to Harvest Asparagus
When your asparagus shoots are at least three years old you can begin harvesting your home-grown asparagus in late spring or early summer. During the first harvest, only pick your asparagus for two weeks to let your plants properly recuperate for next year. The following year it is recommended that you only harvest for three weeks, continuing this pattern until you have fully mature plants that can withstand a six-week long harvest.
Asparagus shoots grow quickly and in ideal situations can grow as much as 10 inches a day.
Harvested asparagus shoots should be 6 to 8 inches tall and thicker than the circumference of a pencil. Cut the shoots using a sharp knife or clippers to avoid unnecessary damage to the plant.Unharvested asparagus becomes an attractive, fern-like, 4 to 6 foot bush with red berries that turns golden in color during the fall.
Cooking Fresh Asparagus
Asparagus is best when fresh so try to harvest on the day you are planning to use it. Asparagus is delicious served steamed, boiled, grilled, roasted or fried.
It can be served naked, or topped with butter, Olive oil and garlic or with a nice sauce. It goes well in a casserole or quiche.Asparagus is an extremely nutritious vegetable that is high in potassium, vitamins B6, A, C and thiamin so be sure to serve it often.
Planting and Growing Asparagus
Want More Asparagus ?
For everything else you've always wanted to know about growing asparagus visit this helpful site.
- Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
Contact information for the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board