Fall is here and for a forager, it’s time to start identifying wild asparagus. I always get a funny look when I say I forage for wild asparagus. People say where in the world do you find wild asparagus. If your interested, fall is a great time to find and mark your asparagus patches for spring. Let me show you how to do it.
Where to Find Wild Asparagus?
Asparagus likes to grow in open fields and trenches. Often you will find them by roadsides and places where the soil is sandy and well drained. The best time to find asparagus is in the fall when the asparagus plant bushes out and turns bright yellowish orange in color. If you look closely at the plant it should have small berries on it that are red in the summer and turn yellow in the fall.
Mark Your Spots and Return in The Spring.
The next step once you identify some asparagus is to return in the spring. Here in the Northeast, wild asparagus usually starts to sprout around May to June. Your window is very short. If you miss them then they will be overgrown, begin to bush out and will not be edible. They can grow very quickly. What you are looking for are young shoots.
You can eat and cook wild asparagus just like the store bought variety. I like to saute mine in a little butter and garlic. Just remember not to pick too much and leave some for a healthier crop next year.
This is the book I used to help me identify wild asparagus
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide is highly recommend. This is a great book to learn how to forage. This book has nice pictures and descriptions. It is easy to follow and I take it with me on all of my foraging hikes. This is my go-to book.
The North American Field Guide is available from these retailers:
**Before you forage, please make sure you are able to properly identify what you are picking or seek an experienced forager for guidance.
Do you forage for wild asparagus? If you have any questions please feel free to comment.