The season is short, and the price may be high, but British grown asparagus is one of, if not the most, celebrated of British seasonal cuisine, with a season ending officially on the 21st June it’s time to get cooking and eating the British wonder vegetable. Packed full of nutrients, taste and supposed aphrodisiac qualities this vegetable is not one to be missed.
Although available all year round the South American or Spanish imports will never live up to the high standards set by seasonally grown British asparagus.
This isn’t just a patriotic statement though, it’s scientific too! Like all green veg once picked, the natural sugars start turning in to starch, meaning the longer it’s been cut the less sweet and tasty it will be. The same applies for garden peas, you’d have to pick your peas on the day and preferably the same hour as you want to eat them to beat the taste of a bag of Birds’ Eye Peas. Which is why they make such a fuss about them being frozen within half an hour of being picked. Unfortunately asparagus doesn’t freeze well, or more accurately defrost, so this isn’t an option.
So the closer you are to the field it’s grown in the better! So if it’s grown in Britain then it stands a chance it’s going to be better than its jet lagged South American cousins! And if you’re in Worcestershire then you have no excuses, as Evesham is one of the biggest asparagus growing hot spots in the UK.
Supermarket brought asparagus is fine (as long as it’s British) but like most things food, your local farm shops and farmers markets may be the best bet as they will be supplied directly from the farm, meaning lower food miles and excess packaging.
One of asparagus’s many great features is how easy it is to cook, steam boil, roast or sauté it all works well.
Simply wash the asparagus and peel or trim off any woody bits from the base of the stem and you’re ready to cook!
Boil or steam for three minutes maybe a touch more if they are really thick stalks, then drain and either eat straight away or sauté in some foaming butter or char-grill over the BBQ, season and you’re ready to eat!
So with under two weeks left of the season there is no time to wait!