So, I've been wanting my own asparagus patch, and the in-laws dug up some of their unruly one and sent it home in a box with my husband. I should have gone to The Google and found out how to re-plant it, because I'm pretty sure I screwed it up and didn't bury it deep enough. So I'll have to wait until I can get another section, and do it right next time.
Why do I want asparagus in my backyard so bad (besides the fact that I love eating it raw)?
It's low in calories and carbohydrates, but relatively rich in protein compared to other vegetables. We're also looking at potassium, vitamin K, folic acid, vitamins C and A, riboflavin, thiamin and B6. We've also got fibre, niacin, phosphorus, and iron.
It's been used historically in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism, as well as a diuretic. This effect may be due to the amino acid asparagine, which gives your pee that gnarly smell (but this doesn't happen to everyone! You may not produce the small, or you just may not be able to smell it!)
When shopping for asparagus, the darker the stalk, the higher concentration of nutrients. You don't want limp here and you want tight, closed tips. It's quite perishable and looses nutrients fast, so find as locally grown as possible (if you're lucky to live in the Kootenay Valley in BC, you probably have access to lots of locally grown asparagus!). It does do well in our climate too, but is mostly grown commercially in the US, Mexico, Peru, France, Spain, and other Mediterranean countries (and hopefully in my own back yard soon enough). Either way, eat the stuff the day or the day after you buy it!
To prep, wash, and bend gently at the bottom of the stalk - it will snap at the ideal point itself - anything that is snapped off will be tough and fibery (stop autocorrecting that computer, I want to say fibery). You can eat it raw roast it, steam it, grill it, stir fry it, lightly pan fry in some butter and garlic and lemon. It's versatile, kind of tastes like sugar snap pea pods to me when raw.
A good rule of thumb when cooking veg is pick your veg, add a flavour, add a fat. No need to get complicated, KISS it (keep it simple, stupid).
Asparagus is definitely one of my favourite things about spring, and who knows. Maybe next year my little patch will surprise me and come up! Maybe not all is lost! Or maybe I'll just have to sneak to the in-laws with my shovel.....