|Wild Asparagus © Photo Ken Korczak|
This is wild asparagus time in northern Minnesota, although I should say, we're at the tale end of it. Wild asparagus is common in Minnesota, but less so here in the far north. But it seems I find more of it every year. I wonder if our constantly warming winters have something to do with it?
If you are wondering how this wild stuff compares to that which you get in the grocery store, well, there is not comparison. This wild stuff is delicious beyond belief. In fact, I've never been much of an asparagus fan, but since I've discovered wild asparagus, that has all changed. This stuff is amazingly good! To me it almost has a garden pea kind of taste. If you bake it with some butter a touch of garlic and salt -- wow! It's sublime!
Yes, it can be difficult to search out this natural gift from Mommy Nature, but they key is to look for the wilted fern-like scrubs from the previous year. They grow into a rather large, roughly triangular shaped plant about three feet tall. Once you learn to recognize them, you can spot them from a long way off, believe me. I often see them from my car growing in the sides of small ditches -- they seem to like to grow there.
When you do find it, you'll know where it is every year after that. Wild asparagus returns year after year once it takes root. I once heard that asparagus and rhubarb are the only two perennial vegetables. (Yes, rhubarb is a vegetable!) When you plant asparagus in your garden, it takes three years before you get your first harvest.
Remember that wild asparagus can be canned and also pickled! Let me tell you, a jar of pickled asparagus is a work of art.
A real fairy in northern Minnesota? This guy says so: JUBAL CRANCH