You can’t be a small farmer without a garden. So we put one in. And, we are in this for the long haul, so the first priority was to get our asparagus started. Asparagus is an interesting plant. Like the hops, it’s a rhizome – the root system goes down deep and evades any damage from winter for many years. A well established asparagus patch will be productive for 20 years or more. We’re hoping for the “or more” but I figure we have time to see what happens.
Asparagus is planted in the garden much like other plants – other plants, that is, that need to be sunk down a half a foot in a big trench. Instead of a common, run of the mill trench we individually mounded 125 asparagus plants. I figure, if it works for the hops… Apparently asparagus is s rather wimpy at first and you shouldn’t even let it see a weed. My asparagus had better be slightly above average in weed tolerance or we are in trouble. I am weeding like a fiend, mostly because when regular work has me all wrapped up I weed for an hour to get back onto an even keel. The first ten plants look great – and the abstract was submitted as I wrote it regardless of the snide remarks from coauthors.
There seems to be some sort of “I need fertilzer every week” thing going on. What’s the deal??? I don’t own a horse. Where am I supposed to get this stuff?? Funny you should ask. Today I visited the Amish neighbor. In exchange for looking at a horse, I get to bring home a truckload of crap. It’s sort of like many days for me only less metaphorical.
I think that Asparagus is a great vegetable. For me it means that spring is really here. But we are finding that other folks either love it or hate it. No matter what, everyone seems to know that it makes your pee smell, and what kind of asparagus farmers would we be if we didn’t talk about this?
Here’s why. In 1891 a scientist convinced four guys to eat seven kilograms of asparagus each. He collected their pee and determined that the smell was due to a metabolite called methanethiol. In the 1970s and 1980s, when scientists had more time on their hands and more asparagus in their lunch (I assume) they did gas chromatography and found different metabolites. Regardless of the chemical that does it, everyone agrees that you urinate out some sort of sulfur-containing compound that is kinda stinky when you eat asparagus. The coolest part of this story is that some folks don’t think that asaparugus makes their pee smell. Wrong. It’s not that it doesn’t smell, but rather that not everyone can smell it. You eat asparagus - there is definiately an “odor” about you.
My favorite ways to eat asparagus are grilled, roasted and wrapped with proscuitto, and in soup.
Here’s a simple cream of asparagus recipe:
- 2 pounds green asparagus
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Cut tips from 12 asparagus - save for garnish
Chop asparagus into ½ inch chunks. Cook the onion in the butter under medium heat. Once translucent, add the asparagaus and salt and pepper. Continue for another 5 minutes. Add 5 cups chicken broth and simmer covered, until the asparagus is very tender – about 15 to 20 minutes.
Cook the reserved asparagus tips in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes and drain.
Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth, transferring to a bowl, and return to pan. Stir in crème fraîche, to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, add lemon juice and garnish with asparagus tips.
In : Vegetables
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