Along with the migratory arrival of Turkey Vultures, asparagus is one of those sure signs of springtime in Oregon. Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that is harvested mid-April through early June when Oregon’s warm spring days are followed by cooler nights.
Which part of the asparagus plant do we eat? The stem! Just like celery. Asparagus is an excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. There is green, purple and even white asparagus.
If you want to grow your own asparagus, pick up crowns from your local nursery store. Plant them in trenches early in spring as soon as the soil can be worked, then sit back and be patient. It can take 2-3 years before harvest, but the plants will produce for years to come.
When buying asparagus to eat, look for firm stems with tightly closed tips. Store the stalks wrapped in a damp paper towel in the crisper of your refrigerator. For best quality, use within 3-4 days.
Kids love eating asparagus spears, swords, and wands! Many Oregon schools have had kids asking for seconds and thirds when they serve roasted asparagus. Here is an easy recipe for making roasted asparagus at home:
1. Turn oven on to 400 degrees f.
2. Wash and trim the bottom off the asparagus spears.
3. Spread out one layer of asparagus spears on a foil-covered baking sheet.
4. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
5. Sprinkle with 1 clove of minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Mix so that the spears are covered evenly with oil and spices.
7. Roast for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
8. Serve warm asparagus as a side dish, chill for a quick snack, or chop and add to a salad.
This spring look for Oregon asparagus at your local grocery store, farmers market and restaurants!