Column: Steamed or roasted, enjoy asparagus while in season

Ah, spring. Dare I hope it is finally here? The signs are encouraging: The air is gradually getting warmer; daylight appears earlier and stretches longer into the evening; hummingbirds are returning to our yards. In my mind, the most solid piece of evidence that spring has sprung is I can’t open a newspaper or magazine without reading yet another creative recipe for preparing asparagus.

Becky and I have been enjoying this season’s asparagus for a while now. We planted some asparagus crowns six years ago. Our information suggested we wait at least two seasons before harvesting, and although it was difficult to watch the spears push their way up through the dirt without taking a few, we endured the obligatory time which allowed the plants to grow and establish a healthy crown.

Asparagus is with us in edible form for six maybe seven weeks. After that, the buds start to “fern out” and the shoots become woody. But during that sweet spot of asparagus abundance, we eat it just about everyday in some form or another. That’s when all those recipes come in handy. We sauté it, roast it, steam it and bake it. We add the various herbs, spices, or cheeses, the recipes suggest. We mix it with pasta or rice or we make asparagus soup. Or we simply enjoy the taste of asparagus boiled briefly with a little salt, pepper and a smidgen of butter.

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