Asparagus...harbinger of a new season


Spring seemed like a great time of year to begin my newsletter. I began my blog in March of 2010. And more significantly, my cooking always feels refreshed as we transition from storage vegetables to the new and freshly harvested.

I commented on my Instagram feed sometime late last fall that I had been feeling a bit as if my cooking were becoming a never ending round of the same old-same old. But as I observed then, my same old boring may be someone else’s new and exciting. This newsletter feels new and exciting to me…and it has already infected my dinner mindset. I hope it will do the same for you—whether I am sharing something from my long-time repertoire…or something that is new to me too.

Asparagus…eat it in season…

I always notice the first batch of new spring asparagus at the grocery store. People love asparagus so much that grocers pretty much stock it year round. But with few exceptions, asparagus out of season isn’t even worth looking at. Often it is visibly shriveled. But even if it isn’t, it has a parched look to it. Certainly it lacks the plump, vibrant look of specimens that were recently harvested during their natural season.

Asparagus has roughly a six week harvest each year. In Kansas City this is usually in April and May. But with regional and national shipping, good asparagus can be had from sometime in March to sometime in June, depending on the year and your specific location. Eat lots of it while it’s abundant and delicious. Then, by the end of asparagus season you’ll be tired of it and you won’t want it until next year when suddenly in March it will look oh, so delicious.

Asparagus for the small household

Asparagus isn’t quite as egregious in the “large packaging” department as some other vegetables. But still. Unless you are going to eat a meal centered around asparagus, the typical bunch will provide at least four portions…six if it is a large bunch and you are combining the asparagus with other vegetables (which I like to do).

I wrote an asparagus basics post on my blog several years ago. It contains lots of information regarding how to choose asparagus…as well as basic preparation, cooking and storage methods. If you have time, you should read it. If not, right now I will just emphasize good storage practices—which are a game changer if you are in the habit of chucking your asparagus, in the bag, into the produce bin of your fridge. Learning how to store produce properly is half the battle for a small household. Even if you love something, you probably don’t want to have to eat it every single night until it’s gone.

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