With the end of may we know that soon we will stop cutting the asparagus shoots so they can green up and grow for next years harvest.
The vegetable asparagus are the tender, succulent, fleshy, young shoots or spears of the plant that are produced from an underground crown of the plant Asparagus officinalis, a member of Liliaceae (Lily family).
Asparagus is very low in calories, fats, sodium, and absolutely no cholesterol. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C, a natural water soluble antioxidant. It enhances the body's immune system, increases the elasticity of skin and blood vessels, and prevents bruising of the skin. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and betacarotenes. They enhance the eye sight, fight against acne, and result in smooth radiant skin. Beta-carotenes act as powerful antioxidants and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, various types of cancer, enhance the vision, especially night vision, reduce the risk of cataract formation and macular degeneration in the elderly.
Asparagus contains vitamins A and C which together also act as powerful antioxidants. They scavenge the free radicals and reduce the risk of inflammatory, cardiovascular and degenerative diseases. It is a very good source of Vitamin K, which plays a very important role in building and maintaining strong bones. It acts by activating a protein in the bones called osteocalcin that anchors calcium in the bones and helps in mineralization of the bones.
With two large beds of asparagus here on the farm we always have asparagus in the freezer, sometimes I pickle it and this year we are trying something new. I dehydrated asparagus knowing that freezer space may be at a premium with 2 hogs out in the pig pen. Not to mention that brooder full of chickens. I intend to experiment with using it in casseroles as well as my cheesy cream of asparagus soup and quiches.
Asparagus for us is such a dependable crop coming back every year and requiring practically no maintenance other than a little weed control.
Mine took about 5 hours to dry on the low vegetable setting and was stored in glass canning jars with oxygen absorbers. The jars were then stored in the cool and dark pantry. If this experiment works well I may start freezing less asparagus and dehydrating more to conserve not only electricity but freezer space as well.