Saturday, 16 April 2011

Asparagus season

Growing asparagus is not for the impatient. You plant a crown. Several months later a spear appears above ground. You gently break it to your husband that he can't eat it; he must wait at least another year.

The spear continues to grow. It branches into a fern.

After some avid googling, you adopt the Ohio State University asparagus-growing fact sheet as your bible. It's the one that says you CAN harvest in the second year.

In the spring of the second year, another spear emerges. After a slow start, it grows very, very quickly.

Finally, you are both home on the same night. The spear gets harvested. In order to share it fairly, it is cut into pieces.

It is sautéed in some butter, then the tiniest spritz of lemon juice is added and shaken until the sauce emulsifies.

It is the most sweet, delicate finger-food imaginable. And we have a reasonable expectation of more.

22 comments:

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

That is a beautiful spear of asparagus!! I want to grow some so so SO badly! Maybe I'll go to the nursery today & get some crowns :) Butter and lemon shaken is my all time favorite asparagus topping as well, it perfectly compliments the flavors of this veg. Enjoy your bountiful harvest!!

Suelle said...

Congratulations! There's nothing better than home grown, even in the tiniest quantities.

When we moved into this house, someone had laid a path over an asparagus bed - for the first few years we had asparagus coming up in the cracks between the paving slabs.

Foodycat said...

Andrea - the lemon/butter combination can't be beaten, can it?

Suelle - it's good to know that once it starts it doesn't stop!

Simona said...

Congratulations on reaching year 2! I planted asparagus some time ago in our community garden and then moved away before the first actual harvest. If the first one is any indication, you have nice asparagus coming.

girlichef said...

Ha! It looks gorgeous. My hubby was asking if we could plant some this year...and when I told him yes, but we wouldn't be able to eat them, he pouted. I'll have to show him what we can expect next year ;)

mscrankypants said...

I am an idiot and let my bed of three-year-old asparagus die in the drought.

I am an idiot.

Foodycat said...

Simona - I hope someone else has been enjoying the asparagus you planted.

Heather - you might as well do it this year: sooner you start, the sooner you can eat it!

Cranky - you aren't an idiot. There isn't a whole lot you can do about an Australian drought.

Rachel said...

What beautiful asparagus babies! Here's to many more spears in the years to come.

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Great work! I don't think I could have that patience. But home-grown stuff really is pretty special.

Foodycat said...

Rachel - thanks! We're looking forward to them!

Leafy - you just need to know you are going to be living in the same place for a couple of years.

Mary said...

It's always such a thrill to harvest asparagus from the garden. I love the anticipation you shared with us this morning. I'll wager the spear was delicious. It certainly is one of the best looking I've ever seen :-). Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Deb in Hawaii said...

So impressive--both that perfect spear and the fact that you waited and divided it quickly with each other. ;-)

Esi said...

Asparagus may be my favorite spring food.

wildtomato said...

I think I would have had a hard time sharing that one precious asparagus, but good for you two!

Foodycat said...

Mary - I am very proud of that spear!

Deb - what can I say? Our marriage vows included the equitable division of vegetables.

Esi - me too!

Wild tomato - thanks!

kat said...

Lucky lucky you!

Heather said...

Haha! Ah, the tribulations of the home gardener. It's always feast or famine, isn't it? Bushels of cudgel-sized zucchini that you're dropping on doorsteps or one singular, precious asparagus spear to fight over.

grace said...

this is the kind of finger food for which i feel no shame when i lick my fingers clean. :)

Foodycat said...

Kat - thanks!

Heather - my gardening tends to be more the one-spear variety, rather than the gluts!

Grace - it would be rude not to lick your fingers.

Pat in Nottingham said...

Oh I'm so excited I found your blog. I did laugh when I read : "After some avid googling, you adopt the Ohio State University asparagus-growing fact sheet as your bible. It's the one that says you CAN harvest in the second year."
Just before finding you I had come home with 2 plants and done exactly that! I note you have grown yours in the bags I use for potatoes, any tips on that as I don't want to plant them in the garden. Pat, Nottinghamshire

Foodycat said...

Pat - I use these bags for spuds too! They seem to be doing really well in them. Just make sure you water them! We rent, so when we eventually move on I didn't want to leave behind an established asparagus bed. When we buy a place of our own we'll plant them out.

Pat said...

Thanks for the info. Am worried about my potatoes in the bags at the moment as they shot up so fast and the 'lates' are about to flower! As for the Asparagus, I am going to do a couple of plants in a bag and we have decided to do a small raised bed in the garden so now I have to source a place to buy some good plants. What do you grow yours in compost wise?
Pat

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