The first friendly face in the colonial American garden was the perennial favorite – asparagus. Brought over from England by the earliest settlers, asparagus was an early and much welcome fresh addition to the 18th century dinner table in the spring.
The asparagus is already growing tall in the raised bed garden at colonial Daggett Farm in Greenfield Village where I serve as a historical presenter. You can see that many of the plants have been allowed to grow tall and go to seed to insure a great crop of this perennial veggie in the next year.
Anna Daggett, wife of Samuel Daggett who built the farmhouse, had responsibility for maintaining a garden large enough to raise vegetables to feed the family all year round. Even though everyone was glad to see asparagus, the early and popular vegetable, only a small portion of the asparagus harvest would be on the dinner table in spring.
Most of the crop was pickled to preserve it for eating later during the rest of the year when asparagus wasn’t in season. That’s because the season for asparagus is really short, typically from May to June both in England, where this vegetable originated, and here in America.
But what made it to the table as fresh would have been a great treat served up from a colonial garden in a tasty recipe like the two shared in this cooking video from the folks at Jas. Townsend & Son, providers of 18th century clothing and goods –
What’s your favorite way to prepare asparagus?