Knowing it takes three years to harvest, I delayed growing asparagus for decades. Three years ago it was now or never. I didn’t really know what I was doing but, as usual, I learned a lot in the process. Now, I’ve been harvesting spears for the last six weeks and more keep coming!
Asparagus Tips (Inedible) and Tidbits…
- In America, asparagus is often pronounced aspergrass or aspirin grass.
- Asparagus is a member of the lily family.
- Packed with vitamins and nutrients, asparagus is deemed the King of Vegetables. Plants comprise a crown of rhizomes and lateral roots, and a tall, frilly fern.
- Green asparagus is most common in America; white is common in Europe and essentially grown in the dark. Purple asparagus is sweeter and originated in Italy.
- It’s suggested to grow 10 asparagus plants per person.
- Asparagus can grow up to 7 inches in one day.
- Harvesting ranges from 2 to 12 weeks.
- Plants can produce for up to 30 years!
- Curved spears? Check for insect damage or be careful when cutting adjacent stalks.
- Revered since the first century, Egyptians offered asparagus to the gods; a 16th century Arabian love manual contained an asparagus recipe for stimulating erotic desires. Roman Emperor Augustus’ soldiers transported asparagus in speedy chariots to ice caves in the Alps so it could be freezed for later use.
- The Greeks used asparagus to cure toothaches and heart disease. Today, it’s used to treat other health issues like joint pain and urinary tract infections.
- Smelly urine after eating asparagus? It’s because our bodies convert asparagusic acid into sulfur-containing chemicals (although not everyone detects the odor).
- A cold salad vinaigrette of Belle d’Argenteuil asparagus appeared on the menu for first class Titanic passengers before sinking in April 1912.
- Two species of asparagus — A. fallax and A. nesiotes are endangered in the Canary Islands.
- 1600s slang pronounced asparagus as sparagus which evolved to sparagrass and then sparrowgrass.
Asparagus Culinary Ideas (Edible)
I love to cook and I’m looking for creative ways to prepare ə-ˈspar-ə-gəs. I understand that in China, asparagus is candied as a special treat but I have yet to find the recipe. How do you eat asparagus?
- Steamed and topped with burnt butter?
- Grilled with olive oil and sea salt?
- Wrapped in prosciutto?
- Sprinkled with lemon zest and olive oil, or shaved parmesan cheese?
- Tempura or stiry fry?
- Leek-asparagus-herb soup?
Have you tried Béarnaise sauce rather than the typical Hollandaise to dress-up your asparagus? I can hardly wait to make that flaky pastry tart with cheese and asparagus spears
or even the baked asparagus fries. If you have some favorite aspergrass recipes please do share!
Postscript: I baked the asparagus fries tonight and they aren’t for me.
I talk a lot about one size doesn’t fit all, so that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like them. I tend to like spicy. I tried a Tempura dipping sauce and although that livened them up a bit, this recipe will not appear in my favorites.