How to Find Wild Asparagus
Once the weather turns mild in the spring months, one of the first vegetables of the season is the wild asparagus. Here I'll tell you the easiest way to find some. Once you get started, every year you'll be able to find more and even be able to freeze a little.
My sister Kathy loved to hunt for anything wild including the asparagus, wild strawberries, sponge mushrooms and wild raspberries. Those are some of my fondness memories of time spent with her. She passed away from cancer a few years ago. So, finding the stalks is a special activity for me.
Give Yourself An Early Start - Watch in the Fall
We'd watch in the fall when the stalks turned brown and they were tall above the ground. Learn what the stalks look like.If you forget to do this in the spring, you should still be able to see the stalks all summer long and even in the winter months. The old stalks are usually 3 feet high, so they are hard to miss. They have a light color and sometimes some of the old branches are still there and that makes it even easier to identify. If you just walk and search for spears, you'll probably never find any or it will take hours.
If you have a friend that already picks it, ask them to show you what to look for or look at someone's asparagus patch in their garden.
Most roadsides have some growing wild somewhere.Especially check where old house once sat. The plants usually spread from seeds from old homesteads. Watch for old deserted houses and you'll probably find some growing. Asparagus has such a different look than weeds that it is easy to spot. We'd remember in our minds where to look for the veggie the next year. This method never failed us.
Searching in the Spring
Asparagus usually sprouts up in Michigan in early May around the time the tulips are blooming. If you live in a warmer area, you need to start looking earlier. Don't start searching too late, because the sprouts get tough after about a month.
If you didn't watch in the fall, you can still spot them in the spring by watching for stalks that are an almost tan color. The stalks will be almost 3 feet tall, so they aren't hard to spot.
Check in the spot where you see the old stalks and look for the sprouts coming out of the ground. If you walk along the roadside without looking for the stalks you may spend hours without finding anything.
Now look in the same spot every year and you'll have plenty for good eating.
Picking the Asparagus
Use a knife and cut just below the ground level. Don't pull it out or just cut off the top. If you pull it out, the plant won't come back. If you just cut off the top, you find nice sprouts later on.