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veggies

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Preserving Fresh Asparagus

It is a sad time of year...fresh, Michigan Asparagus season is coming to a close. 

Let's pause for a moment of silence...

Fortunately, asparagus can be enjoyed long-after the season ends! There are various other ways to enjoy asparagus year round.

Freezing and canning are the two most popular ways to consume the health benefits of this good-for-you green vegetable at any time of year. But you can also pickle Michigan Asparagus or dry it for later consumption. 

Learning how to freeze, can, pickle, and dry Michigan Asparagus isn't as daunting - or time-consuming - as it sounds. Many cookbooks and online sites offer step-by-step guides on how to manage each one. Read this article in The Examiner.

The right preservation method is determined by asking yourself how you'd like to enjoy the asparagus in the future. For instance, if you'd like to enjoy almost-fresh Michigan Asparagus, freezing is the best option for you. Canned, pickled, and dried Michigan Asparagus may change the texture and taste of the product to a degree, but it's still good in soups, frittatas, eggs, combination dishes like relish and asparagus risotto, as well as dishes that typically require heat. Though canning has its limitations, it certainly does help that cans may be left in the pantry without any refrigeration or freezing. 

If you're ready to give canning, pickling, or freezing at try, stop by a local grocer or farm stand for the last bit of Michigan Asparagus and give it a go! Stock up while supplies last! And if you're a seasoned vet at preserving asparagus, tell us your favorite way to enjoy Michigan Asparagus in the comments below!

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Father's Day Recipes - Let's Get Grilling!

As we celebrate all things that encompass father's this weekend, many of us will be headed outdoors and to the grill. 

Michigan asparagus only has a week or two (if that!) left in its season, so make sure it is a staple in your Father's Day meal plans! 

We're excited to feature these recipes from Michigan bloggers to make sure you and your family get the last of this nutrient-dense vegetable this season.

Feel free to mix it up the way your family likes, and be sure to grill the asparagus even if it doesn't call for it for an amazing smoky taste!

Grilled Veggies with Lemon Herb Viniagrette 

Recipe and Photo:  The Lemon Bowl , a Grand Rapids blogger.

Recipe and Photo: The Lemon Bowl, a Grand Rapids blogger.

Recipe and Photo:  The Awesome Mitten

Recipe and Photo: The Awesome Mitten

Recipe and Photo:  86 Lemon 's writer, Livvy, a Michigan-born blogger.

Recipe and Photo: 86 Lemon's writer, Livvy, a Michigan-born blogger.

Recipe and Photo: Michigan author of  Tracy's Living Cookbook.

Recipe and Photo: Michigan author of Tracy's Living Cookbook.

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Who will be the 2015 Asparagus Queen?

We are less than two weeks away from the National Asparagus Festival, held on June 12-14th in Oceana County. But before that, we must name a queen!

Saturday, June 6th, will mark the fate of one lucky girl, as she is crowned the 2015 Asparagus Queen. Candidates, Konnie Vandervelde and Courtney Kokx, are vying for the 2015 crown. Both are no strangers to asparagus royalty.

Danielle Kokx, the 2014 Asparagus Queen (and candidate Courtney Kokx's sister), and Gina Ferweda (left), a resort owner and food blogger, on Fox 17 Morning Mix.

Danielle Kokx, the 2014 Asparagus Queen (and candidate Courtney Kokx's sister), and Gina Ferweda (left), a resort owner and food blogger, on Fox 17 Morning Mix.

Vandevelde's great-aunt, Lorena, was the 1993 Asparagus Queen and Kokx's sister, Danielle, was reining queen in 2014, making it a close race with royal bloodlines throughout! 

Candidates,  Courtney Kokx and Konnie Vandervelde , compete for the 2015 Asparagus Queen crown. 

Candidates, Courtney Kokx and Konnie Vandervelde, compete for the 2015 Asparagus Queen crown. 

The pageant crowned its first queen in 1975 and has made dreams come true for asparagus-loving ladies ever since. Each year, the National Asparagus Festival (NAF) hosts a pageant and formal dinner where the Asparagus Queen of the country is crowned. 

Once named, the newly appointed asparagus queen will travel the state of Michigan promoting the asparagus industry in Oceana County and encouraging Michiganders to support our local agriculture industry.

"All of the exposure and support goes straight back to the farmers that produce this wonderful vegetable that we're known for," says the NAF.

The National Asparagus Festival's Banquet and Pageant is held this Saturday, June 6, at 6 p.m. at Shelby High School. Tickets are $12 and sold online or at the door.

The formal event will include dinner (with plenty of options for non-asparagus lovers), music, and entertainment. 

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