Every year our first major crop that we bring to market is asparagus. It’s the first green that we see that’s from our fields and that’s edible and really is a beacon of spring and the warm weather to come.
We love asparagus. So many of our friends and customers do too and tell us when they get to the market and see it’s available! But what is asparagus?
Origin of Asparagus
Asparagus is actually a cousin of the onion and a member of the liliaceae family. So asparagus and Lilies are related! Just like lilies asparagus comes back up every year. It’s been consumed for over 2000 years and has its origins in Eastern Mediterranean countries but has also been traced back to Africa. It has been shown that ancient Egyptians actually cultivated it by archaeologists.
In ancient Greece, Hippocrates used asparagus to treat certain gastric issues in his patients. Asparagines in the plant are a diuretic and has been shown to be quite medicinal. It wasn’t until the 16th and 17th century until asparagus made its way to Europe and was served to royalty. By the 18th century asparagus made it to the local markets and was used commonly in culinary efforts in every day households.
It doesn’t last nearly long enough. Only a few weeks usually. But, it’s the start of the season and the beginning of so many great things to come in the next few weeks and even months. But if you like it as much as we do you can easily freeze it!
The easiest way to do it is to blanch the spears and then quickly cool them. Get some boiling water ready and get a bowl of ice water ready. Put your asparagus spears in the boiling water for three minutes (one pound of asparagus at a time and allow the water to reboil before the next batch) and then take out and cool off the in the water. Dry them off and put them in freezer bags! That’s it. Fresh tasting asparagus long into the summer!