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Fresh Flavors (5)

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It wasn’t long ago that gardening was a way of life, not just a hobby. The home garden was essential to survival for Iowa’s early settlers, providing food for the family not only during the growing season but also throughout the harsh winter.

As a child, I often heard about the large vegetable garden my grandmother nurtured during WWII to assist family members and neighbors during a time of strict food rationing.

My first experience with food gardening was in the 1970s, when my mother rented a large plot at the county park in order to grow chemical-free vegetables and save on grocery bills.

For several seasons we weeded, harvested, canned, blanched, and froze enough food to last all year.

Eventually we joined others in buying the ever-growing selection of produce available at grocery stores and grew only our homegrown favorites as a hobby.

Today many of us are returning to our roots, literally. We’re growing our own food due to a less-than-favorable economy, rising food prices, and a desire to control how food is produced.

People are rediscovering that not only does growing their own vegetables feel good, it tastes good and saves money.

How good does it taste? Bring your vegetable garden bounty into the kitchen with a few of my favorite recipes.

-- Ann Hutchins


Sauteed Lemon & Tarragon Asparagus
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Sea salt
Sesame seeds and/or grated Parmesan cheese or grated Manchego cheese

 In a large cast-iron pan saute asparagus in butter for about 8 minutes until tender but firm. Add tarragon and lemon juice; cook 2 to 3 more minutes. Place in a serving dish, sprinkle with sea salt to taste, and garnish with sesame seeds and/or grated Parmesan or grated Manchego cheese. Serves 6.

(Next: More Fresh Flavors Recipes) 

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