April & May means asparagus season in the Northeast. Asparagus season is such a big deal because it is the first vegetable that we harvest after a cold winter. Farmers and market goers wait all year for this time and it happens so quick. Of course you can get asparagus all year round, but nothing will taste as good as asparagus cut fresh from a local farmer’s garden.
Asparagus is a perennial, which means it comes back year after year. It is not like most vegetables and planted with a seed, instead you plant an asparagus crown, which looks a lot like a spidery root. It takes about three years of growing before they are ready to be harvested. That takes some dedication! Once May arrives and they are ready to harvest, farmers need to act fast. The days really start to get warm in May and the asparagus can grow so fast sometimes it needs to be harvested multiple times a day. If they aren’t harvested at the right time, the asparagus gets too big and it doesn’t taste as great as the more tender spear. Larger asparagus isn’t necessarily not as tasty, but it has been growing longer than thinner spears.
Since we are almost at that time of year, I wanted to share some asparagus tips.
Look for asparagus that is not wrinkled and feels firm.
Store your asparagus in water. You can use any mug or mason jar, but fill it about 1/4 with water and place the spears inside. Keep in your fridge til you are ready to cook.
Remove woody ends by snapping the asparagus. If you hold both ends of the asparagus spear and slightly bend, it will snap in the right spot. You will not have to use a knife to trim your asparagus! Instead, you will simply be left with the more tender and better tasting part of the spear.
Recently I received this herb preserver as a wedding gift and I discovered it also works as an asparagus preserver. I highly recommend it and love that it serves many purposes in the kitchen and looks so great in the fridge!