Asparagus – A Labor of Love
|May 19, 2014||Posted by Sarah under Connecticut, Eating Local|
I recently started reading a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. It’s the story of a family who left their life in Arizona to live a rural life in southern Appalachia. They vowed to live for one year off of local food they either they grew themselves, or could find in their local community. Not only is it an compelling story, but it is an insightful look at the food culture in America.
Chapter 2 focuses on asparagus, one of the first vegetable to appear in the spring. To grow it is truly a labor of love as it takes 3 years after first planting to yield your first crop…that’s a long time to wait. But if you love and nurture the plants, they can keep producing for 20 – 30 years!
As the author states, “waiting for foods to come into season means tasting them when they’re good…” and this is particularly true with asparagus. Since it is such a delicate vegetable, once cut it begins to go down hill very quickly. I will buy asparagus occasionally through out the year when I’m feeling in the mood, but there is nothing like those few weeks in May when my local farm has their own homegrown asparagus available. The look an feel of that stalks are like nothing you will find in a grocery store…firm with vibrant colors!
My favorite way to prepare asparagus is to toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper, then simply roast it in a 425 degree oven for 8 – 1o minutes. I find this method enhances the flavor even more than simply steaming it. Fresh, local asparagus is sweet…incredibly sweet! I find asparagus to generally be a bit bitter, but not this. It’s like it’s made from sugar. Such a treat!
There are only a few weeks left that you will be able to find this vegetable in all of it’s perfectly ripe glory. So get out there and visit your local farm to pick some up! Make sure to come back and let me know if you can tell the difference. I bet you can!