Ah, asparagus. It’s one of the first fresh crops of the season and if you’re a veggie lover, you can eat it every day while it’s in season and not get sick of it. And if you’re a really serious foodie, you freeze some to make soup or a frittata in the off season.
There are so many ways to enjoy asparagus including steamed, grilled, roasted, in soups, in quiche or frittatas, in stir fry, or in salads. Below are a few simple ways to prepare asparagus, including naturally pickling or fermenting it, a great way to make it last beyond the spring.
When you buy fresh asparagus, refrigerate and use it within 2 or 3 days for best quality. To maintain freshness, wrap a moist paper towel around the stem ends, or stand the bunch upright in two inches of cold water. (Pictured here is Asparagus Salmon Pasta Salad)
Did you know…
- An asparagus planting is usually not harvested for the first 3 years after the crowns are planted allowing the crown to develop a strong root system.
- Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period
- Asparagus is a member of the Lily family
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut in half
3-4 large cloves garlic
fresh parsley sprigs
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup whey* (If you do not have whey, add 1 more tablespoon sea salt)
filtered water (do not use chlorinated water)
- Place garlic, dill weed, peppercorns, and parsley in a glass quart jar. Add the asparagus.
- Add the filtered water, sea salt and whey. Make sure you add enough water to cover with 1 inch liquid.
- Cover and shake to dissolve the salt. Make sure everything is completely covered with liquid.
- Allow to ferment in a dark cool place for 3 days or more, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. If your kitchen is warm, 3 days is sufficient. If your kitchen is colder, it could be left out 1 or 2 more days. The asparagus should taste pleasingly tart.
- Store in refrigerator. It will continue to ferment, but at a much slower rate.
* You can use the watery substance from plain yogurt for your whey. You can also use Caldwell’s starter culture for vegetables.
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat a grill.
- Place asparagus on a plate. Drizzle oil and balsamic over the asparagus and turn spears until they are coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn again.
- Grill asparagus for 5 minutes over a hot grill. Turn spears after a couple minutes. Asparagus should begin to brown a little. Do not allow to char. Remove from grill and serve immediately.
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and pepper
Heat oven to 450. Toss asparagus, olive oil, and salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.