But the earliest crop to be ready in Michigan year after year is asparagus. Depending on the length and intensity of the winter, the asparagus crop becomes ready in late April or May. This year’s relatively mild winter bodes well for fresh asparagus right about now.
Did you know that Michigan is the #2 producer of asparagus in the country with the majority of the farms in western Michigan? You probably didn’t.
So, what’s so great about asparagus? First of all, ½ cup of asparagus is only 20 calories. It has no fat or cholesterol and is very low in sodium and carbohydrates. But it provides these benefits:
- 18% of your recommended daily Vitamin A
- 12% of your recommended daily Vitamin C
- 5% of your recommended daily iron
- 2 Grams of fiber
Cook asparagus and serve them as a side dish, topped with a splash of lemon juice and Parmesan cheese, added to salads of all kinds, as a base for chicken dishes or grilled with savory dipping sauces.
From the Pure Michigan website, here is a terrific recipe:
Herb Frittata with Michigan Asparagus and Goat Cheese
Servings : 4
Time : 15 minutes
6-8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (May also roast, steam or sauté asparagus)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3/8 teaspoon salt
A pinch of fresh-grated nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
7 large eggs, lightly beaten (can substitute with Egg Beaters)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 ounces soft goat cheese (about 1/4 cup)
Combine asparagus and 1/4 cup water in a small microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until tender. Rinse with cold water; drain. Combine chives, dill, salt, pepper, nutmeg and eggs in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.
Preheat broiler to high. Heat a small ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add asparagus and egg mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes or until eggs are partially set, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese.
Place pan under broiler. Broil 2 minutes or until eggs are set and top is lightly browned.
Remove pan from oven. Run a spatula around edge and under frittata to loosen from pan; slide frittata onto a plate or cutting board. Cut into 4 wedges.