Asparagus season has officially begun here in The Garden State (aka – New Jersey). It is a sure sign that after a long and harsh winter, spring is finally here. It is one of the first vegetables harvested in the spring in our state. While asparagus is readily available year round from other parts of the country, the growing season here in New Jersey only lasts about six short weeks (usually the beginning of May – mid-June). For a list of local New Jersey asparagus growers, check out the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Jersey Fresh site at http://www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov
Here are some facts to chew on about asparagus:
• Asparagus is high in fiber, potassium and folate.
• Approximately 1,100 acres of asparagus is grown in New Jersey.
• It takes three years from initial planting for it to mature and harvest. Once planted, it can produce for about 15 years.It grows out of the ground – like a very thick blade of grass. It is very labor-intensive to pick….think about bending over and cutting one stalk at a time.
• It is said that Queen Nefertiti proclaimed asparagus the food of the Gods.
• Asparagus varieties can be green, white or purple
Preheat oven to 425°. Wash asparagus thoroughly. Jersey asparagus tends to be a little sandy. To remove sand, soak in cold water for a few minutes so sand the can settle to the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Note: To help retain its freshness, store asparagus upright in the refrigerator in a bowl of water or wrapped in a damp paper towel. This helps to keep the stalks firm and prevent it from wilting.
With Vegetable Peeler, peel stalks of asparagus to remove outer skin. This helps to make it more tender.
Spread out on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Crush garlic on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Make sure to spread all over asparagus and coat thoroughly. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
- 1 lb. Jersey Fresh Asparagus
- 3 TBS. Olive
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- ⅓ Cup of Parmesan Cheese
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Wash asparagus thoroughly. Jersey asparagus tends to be a little sandy. To remove sand, soak in cold water for a few minutes so sand the can settle to the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
- Use a vegetable peeler to skin outer layer of asparagus.
- Spread out on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Crush garlic on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make sure to spread all over asparagus and coat thoroughly.
- Bake at 425° for 15-20 minutes.