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SEIZE THE DAY! (Published in The Sargent County Teller, 04.23.21/2021 issue.)
Nothing Says Spring Like this Veggie
What veggie can be eaten raw, grilled, steamed or roasted, is fairly hardy and can grow wild among grass, and when eaten raw has a taste similar to fresh garden peas? If you guessed asparagus, you’re right! It is a vegetable that just seems to shout “spring,” right?
The NDSU Extension Family and Community Wellness agent in Cavalier county, Katie Henry, is a friend and colleague who tells the story of an asparagus “farm” that grew along a shelter belt that was just down the road from where she lived as a child. As she tells it, people could go pick all of the asparagus they wanted and leave their money in a little cash box under the tree at the end by the road, on the honor system. She considered it to be a fun adventure to go asparagus hunting among the grass when she was a youngster.
Asparagus may be harvested from about mid-May until the third week in June, beginning in its third or fourth season of growth, not earlier. The shoots are best cut when 6-10 inches tall. If they get taller than that, they tend to be “woody.” New shoots may be cut as often as every other day if temperatures and moisture conditions are favorable.
Asparagus should not be harvested any later than the third week of June so that the plant can rejuvenate itself for the next year. Asparagus plants, once established, can produce for up to 20 years.
To harvest asparagus, push a knife into the soil close to the shoot, cutting it slightly below the soil surface, or simply snap the shoot off with your fingers. As with all fresh fruits and vegetables, be sure to rinse with clear running water and a slight amount of friction before eating it or preparing it for a recipe.Continue reading “Seize the Day!”