By: Loris Sofia Gregory, Healthy Kitchen Coach, Apple Valley, MN
May in Minnesota has our taste buds perking up for those perennial delightful flavors of asparagus and rhubarb. Look for local rhubarb and asparagus at Valley Natural Foods! Though asparagus was not grown in the New World until around 1850, there are directions for cooking it in the oldest surviving recipe book created by a Roman food lover in the third century. Asparagus has a long coveted reputation as a vegetable and a medicine, owing to its delicate flavor and its bountiful fiber, protein, beneficial vitamins and minerals. Look for the youngest thin shoots of asparagus, as once the buds start to open the shoots quickly turn woody.
If you are lucky enough to procure some fresh asparagus this month, wrap asparagus in a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. Use as soon as possible, within one or two days, before its natural sugars turn to starches. If you cannot use asparagus for more than a day, either wrap the ends in a damp paper towel or bundle the spears with a rubber band and stand them upright in a container in an inch of water.
The website of Featherstone Farm in Rushford Village, Minnesota offers these suggestions for enjoying the spring flavors of asparagus, courtesy of Mi Ae Lipe’s Tastes from the Valley to Bluff: The Featherstone Farm Cookbook (2008).
Don’t miss these upcoming classes!
FRESH & LOCAL DEMO: Tuesday, May 8, 11 am to 2 pm
Featuring vine-on tomatoes, basil and English cucumbers fresh from Living Water Garden in Wells, Minnesota, “full of life, full of water and full of healthy nutrients.”
FRESH & LOCAL: Asparagus to Strawberries
Tuesday, May 15, 6:30 to 8:30 pm; $17 members; $20 non-members
Register at least one week ahead at Customer Service: 952.891.1212, Ext. 221. or online.