Wild Asparagus

Wild Asparagus, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

In spring, here in Montana I love to find tender asparagus shoots while I'm walking in the countryside. The shoots are best when they're thin - about the size of a pencil -- and from six to ten inches high. They're so tender you can eat them raw as you pick the shoots. The asparagus I find on those early spring hikes rarely make it home to the steamer.

Of course, those tiny asparagus are hard to find, which is one reason wild asparagus is such a delicacy. Their stems rarely poke above the surrounding grasses and shrubbery when they're still small enough to eat. The best way to find wild asparagus in Spring is to think ahead -- when I'm walking the hills and valleys around Helena in fall and winter, I make a mental note of where I can see the tall, now-golden asparagus fronds left behind. Then, come Spring when the snow melts and the hills are starting to green up, I can go to those hidden hollows where I know it has been growing. A little hunting through the leftover grasses and forbs of winter ... and voila! My hiking-side-dish delicacy!


kerrdelune said...

The first wild asparagus, mushrooms and fiddleheads of the season - things I dream about all winter long. I love the photo!!!

... sent you a message about garden Buddhas this afternoon from Flickr as I couldn't locate an e-mail addy for you here Did it (the message) arrive OK?

Bitterroot said...

M,your wild asparagus and calyx photos are wonderfully textured. I love these.

Pam said...

As always, love your visuals. Fresh asparagus is my favorite veggie and when it first arrives in the spring I cannot get enough.

Maureen said...

thank you to kerrdelune,bitterroot and to you, pam. haven't been much on my blog, or yours, lately ... so it helps to know there are still folks out there who are reading what little I do post. Waiting to be able to get a new computer to replace my poor, deceased computer.

Fresh asparagus is in the stores this week -- for Thanksgiving dinner I guess -- but so expensive! And nothing in taste compared to the shoots you pick yourself -- or even to the tender narrow shoots the produce markets will have in early spring.

LauraHinNJ said...

I love to pick and eat the skinny shoots in my brother's garden! They taste nothing like the thick stalks in the market.

maureen said...

laura, i have always wanted to grow asparagus in our garden, but figure I can't spare the room. Maybe it's just that I'm impatient -- don't you have to let the plant grow without picking the fronds, for at least a couple of years? I guess I am just used to limiting myself to the young asparagus I find on my hikes in the spring. Your brother is lucky -- and generous to share his asparagus with you.