Making the most of seasonal fruit & vegetables: Asparagus

Waitrose announced an early British asparagus season – the first harvest of 2022 was in their stores at the end of February. That’s about eight weeks earlier than usual.

A few asparagus facts:

  • Labour-intensive to grow, asparagus are the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant.
  • Rich in vitamins (A and C, potassium, iron and calcium) it boosts the immune system, aids blood clotting, improves the health of the large intestine and helps detoxify our bodies.
  • Dubbed the Usain Bolt of the vegetable world, British asparagus can grow up to 10cm in one day.
  • Asparagus can help cure hangovers and protect the liver against toxins.
  • Sprue is the term for young, very slender asparagus.
  • French asparagus is purple, British and American varieties are green. Spanish, and much Dutch asparagus, is white because it’s grown beneath the soil and cut just as the tips emerge.

To prepare:

Asparagus just needs a rinse. For larger asparagus (which will also have more flavour), bend the spear until it snaps and throw the woody end away. If the ends still feel tough, you can pare away the exterior to reveal the more tender flesh beneath.

Making the most of seasonal fruit & vegetables: Asparagus
Healthy pasta primavera from BBC Goodfood

Boil (for 3-5 mins) or steam (4-5 mins, depending on size) then serve with hollandaise sauce or hot melted butter. You can also combine it with peas, podded broad beans, young spinach leaves and basil for pasta primavera.

Brush with oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast (for 15 mins) or grill (5 mins), then serve with parmesan shavings and a spritz of lemon juice, or wrap with strips of prosciutto.

To store:

Wrap in damp kitchen paper and keep in the salad drawer of your fridge. You can also store it in a jug of cold water in the fridge.

We have some wonderful asparagus recipes here on the A&G website – all tried & tasted so you can be sure they’ll work equally well for you too:

We’ve tested (and tasted) almost every one of the 900 recipes on this website. The vast majority are easy to prepare and every single one is packed with flavour.