Yup, it’s here again! Asparagus season. The local harvest has started. Sure, you can buy asparagus at the grocery store in the middle of winter, but it comes to you from halfway around the world. Now is the season for the world’s finest – LOCAL, HOME-GROWN asparagus. Does anything else shout spring quite so eloquently?
This weekend our little community around Loon Lake gathers for the neighborhood garage sale, a kick-off to spring as necessary as putting the piers in. We’re participating with a few pieces, but mostly with food – breads, cookies, honey, sorghum, maple syrup, asparagus and spring vegetables. The greens have been terrific so far this spring!
The other midwestern spring treat we eagerly await is just starting to produce: rhubarb. Rhubarb, also known as “pie plant,” looks and acts like a fruit, but it’s a vegetable that’s packed with vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. As kids, we had permission to pick from our neighbor’s rhubarb patch. We tore off the deep green leaves and started chomping on it raw, sometimes adding a sprinkle of salt. Pucker up!! Rhubarb makes the most wonderful pies and jams, too! Mix with strawberries or go it alone, you just can’t beat it!
Here’s my mother-in-law’s (Grace Loomis) recipe for rhubarb custard pie, one of my very favorites:
1 unbaked 9″ pie crust
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbls. flour
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg and 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbls. butter
2 eggs, beaten well
3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces
Blend dry ingredients. Add egg and mix well. Place rhubarb in unbaked pie shell and pour egg mixture over rhubarb, smoothing to cover. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes; turn heat down to 350 degrees and bake another 50 minutes until center is set.
Enjoy this lovely spring weather!