If the squash blossom is the darling princess of The Chef’s Garden, then asparagus is king.
Heck. Asparagus might as well be the whole royal family.
Throughout recorded history, many famous people have adored asparagus – and this luscious spring vegetable is still in demand today. Here, we share the highlights of asparagus throughout history, as well as why Farmer Lee Jones loves it so much – along with health benefits of this fresh vegetable and so much more.
In Europe, chefs almost always use white asparagus, rarely green. Because white asparagus beautifully offers up luscious notes of corn and sweet cabbage, we fully appreciate their love of this marvelous vegetable. European farmers mound soil over the asparagus plants to block the chlorophyll process, which creates the white color. But, these plants need to push hard through the soil and end up with tough outer skins that need peeled off. This adds labor (costs and time) to the mix, and then the most nutritious part of the vegetable is thrown away.
Signs of spring are everywhere, from glorious blooms on trees to robins singing at dawn, and from sunshine-yellow daffodils to the first harvests of asparagus. “And it’s really amazing,” says Culinary Vegetable Institute Chef Matt Ward, “how forcefully the asparagus shoots through the dirt, pushing mounds of it aside to get to the sun.” That’s a real sign of spring!