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Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Are you casting asparagus on my cooking?
~Curly Howard~

One of the first things we did when we bought this little cottage was to put in an asparagus bed.  Growing asparagus is a lesson in patience.  In typical Ran and Jane fashion, we went overboard and planted about ninety crowns, but for most people a couple of dozen plants should suffice.  Just plant the crowns in the spring in good enriched soil about a foot apart for each crown. 

Now the patience part comes into play.  The first year you must restrain yourselves from picking any of those wonderful green stalks.  The second year, only pick one third of them.  But on the third year, you can go hog wild and pick to your heart's content.  I guarantee,  you'll get sick of the stuff before you exhaust your supply

To care for the plants, we lay newspaper down in the spring to keep out the weeds, then cover it with composted manure.  Leave the plants until the fall, then cut back the foliage.  But I like to keep them well into winter, because they look pretty in the frost.  Don't cut them back to soon, because the foliage strengthens the plants, just like tulips and daffodils.

Our favorite way to  prepare it, is to simply drizzle olive oil over the stalks and sprinkle them with our own herbes de provence (garlic powder and rosemary will do in a pinch) and salt.  Roast in a hot oven, or even better grill them until they are tender.

Spent a pleasant afternoon yesterday, canning fourteen pints up.  To can asparagus, clean the stalks and cut them into desired size.  In large pot, cover the asparagus with water and bring to a boil; simmer 10 minutes.  Pack into hot sterilized pint jars, adding 1/2 tsp. salt to each jar.  Wipe down the rims and place sterilized lids on; screw on the rings.  Process for thirty minutes at ten pound of pressure.  Easy peasy!


  1. hi jane
    i like green asparagus. but i have never asparagus
    preserved.thanks for the tips.

  2. Hello Regina! Thank you for the nice comment on the mittens. After you read my blog for a while, you'll discover that I am a preserving zealot! We grow and preserve almost all of our food on our 1/2 acre plot.

  3. This was a wonderfully informative and inspiring post! I've thought about asparagus but I'm an instant gratification kind of gal. You made it sound doable! Thanks.

    I've only just recently become a Jessie Wilcox Smith fan. I'm sure I've seen her illustrations before but until now I just admired and forgot. She's wonderful!

    Blessings, Debbie

  4. Hello Debbie! Oh asparagus is easy. It practically takes care of itself. There's no comparison between freshly picked just minutes before eating and the stuff you get in the store. I never realized how sweet it is, until I grew my own. Plus you get to select the tenderest stalks. I really love the illustrations in children's books, such as J.W.S., Eloise Wilkens, Tasha Tudor and Elizabeth Orton Jones. I can just about imagine myself right into their illustrations. I get my decorating ideas from looking at them!

  5. Dear Jane,

    Mmm, asparagus! I have to pretend that poke is asparagus this spring (although I have seen a u-pick farm advertised lately). :)



  6. That's going to take a good imagination Marqueta! But then you have a wonderful one, so it shouldn't be such a problem for you. Wish you lived nearby, I'd gladly give you all the asparagus you'd need or want!

  7. We tried growing asparagus, but don't think we had a good spot for it in our garden... it never really did anything except grow fern. Of course, that was lovely, but.....

    Chuckled at the quote you had at the top by Curly Howard.... cute!

  8. That quote made me chuckle too, Brenda! Asparagus likes really rich soil. We are blessed her to have some of the best soil in the country. Something I am thankful for everyday, even when sometimes my garden seems to bountiful!

  9. Hi Jane, what beautiful asparagus! I love asparagus, it is always such a treat. I like it steamed with butter and a little salt and pepper. Then sometimes I like to steam it and then put it in the refrigerator and eat the spears cold for snacks. I also love asparagus quiche for breakfast.

    I would love to see your garden, it sounds like it is beautiful and you are having a bountiful harvest. I hope you have a lovely day ahead, happy gardening! Delisa

  10. I just took a picture of my garden this morning Delisa. I was going to post it, but thought I'd wait a day or two, since I've been posting a lot lately. Wouldn't want to wear out my welcome!

  11. We've never tried to grow asparagus. I do hear about it growing "wild" in some areas here though. I love it baked or grilled with a little olive oil.

  12. Hi Jane, you asparagus is beautiful! I can just imagine how wonderful and fresh it must taste right from the garden. I love to eat asparagus with butter and a little salt and pepper. Sometimes I like to put the cooked asparagus in the refrigerator and just eat the spears cold for a snack. My favorite is asparagus quiche for breakfast! I hope you have a fun friday evening and a nice weekend ahead! Delisa :)

  13. We love asparagus, too, Jane. Especially the way you suggested - Roasting in the oven. We sprinkle with course or sea salt. I bet they would be good on the grill!

  14. I love fresh asparagus--for some reason it's not something that seems to be grown much here in the south, but I'm thinking I want to try some and see what I can do with it. Thanks for the information!

  15. Go for it Charlene! We harvested over ten pounds this weekend and plenty more to come. My husband was popular at work when he brought in a cooler full of it! It's a lot easier than zucchini to give away. Once it's established, it pretty much takes care of itself.