The asparagus is just one of the few plants in vegetable gardens that come back every year. It has been cultivated for over 2,000 years, thanks to its great culinary and medicinal uses. That’s why it’s a great perennial vegetable that people add to their home gardens.
These vegetables can be eaten in just about any way, hence the reason why they are crowd favorites! But take note that it does take patience and about 2 years before it’s ready for harvest.
When spring comes, the plants produce tender and edible spears, which will be followed by a ferny growth, with red seeds (possibly). This is known as ferning out.
If you harvested this, can you eat asparagus after it ferns? Read on to find out!
Can You Eat Asparagus After It Ferns?
When the asparagus first emerges, you see slim and tender spears, which are what you harvest. When the spears begin maturing, they become woody and tough at the base, while its tips start to open and develop into foliage looking like ferns.
When you see your asparagus ferning out, this is actually good, as it would indicate that photosynthesis is promoted, for increased nutrition production and absorption. It is during the ferning out process that energy is produced and stored in the plants’ roots for better and new growth next harvesting year.
When the asparagus ferns out, the female spears would produce green berries, which would turn red. These seeds or berries won’t likely produce new plants, though.
So don’t confuse this with bolting, or the time when plants first begin seeding. You shouldn’t cut back your overgrown and mature asparagus plants when they open up and fern. Instead, let it be and allow it to continue growing and nourishing the plant and root systems for it to produce better harvests in the coming years.
What if you did cut overgrown asparagus after it ferns, though?
This may harm the asparagus plant’s growth! But you may be able to help keep it growing better with proper care and nourishment.
If you harvested overgrown asparagus after ferning, is it possible to eat?
When you harvested overgrown asparagus that began to fern, then they become tough and shriveled, with their tops opening. It IS possible to eat them without any harm occurring, but obviously, they won’t taste as good as fresh ones. So as much as possible, do harvest your asparagus at the correct times and simply stop harvesting even after asparagus ferns out.
What You Can Do
The stems are woody, the vegetable feels tough, but it’s still safe to eat and may be salvaged. I do NOT recommend eating overgrown asparagus raw, but you may be able to try various cooking methods to soften the asparagus, making it edible and still delicious with the right spices and food combinations.
Do you want to learn more about asparagus after it ferns? Check out this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
Asparagus is a delicious vegetable to eat, having many nutritious benefits. However, you have to make sure that you harvest them at the correct times. This is to prevent harvesting them after ferning, which can end up affecting the next harvest, as well as giving you tough and unappealing asparagus.
I hope that this article answered your question, “can you eat asparagus after it ferns?” Now that you know the answer, do learn more about the proper ways to care for and harvest your asparagus to prevent getting overgrown ones.