Support British Asparagus This Season

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Support British Asparagus This Season

Eating seasonally, when produce is packed full of flavour is without a doubt the best way for you to enjoy food at its best. Each month we will be highlighting what’s in season and also share one of our favourite recipes using some of these great ingredients. We hope that it’ll inspire you to get in the kitchen, start cooking and ultimately support great British food.

Asparagus is this month’s seasonal favourite. Crisp in texture and distinct in flavour, this vegetable really packs a punch. Home grown in our British fields, through the months of February to May, British Asparagus is considered to be the best in the world. 

Growing Asparagus is labour intensive, it involves an investment of time and patience and combined with the acceptance of a high quality but a low yield, this is the reason why it’s not the cheapest vegetable to buy. However, anyone can start growing their own Asparagus when you know how, below are a few handy tips on how to get started.

  • Asparagus will grow well if you set up the right conditions from the outset; this is very much worth it as crops can grow up to twenty years once established.
  • Thoroughly prepare the ground for the Asparagus, find somewhere which is sheltered, yet sunny and where soil is reasonably fertile and well drained.
  • You don’t need masses of space to grow your own Asparagus, a bed of 1.5m wide will allow the planting of three rows and bed of 1m wide will accommodate two rows, if you leave 45cm between each row and approximately 25cm between the plants.
  • You can either grow Asparagus from seed, although it is much easier to grow Asparagus from a one year old ‘crown’ – a ready grown plant which can be brought from a garden centre – ‘crowns’ should be planted at the beginning of April.
  • Once you’re seeds or ‘crown’ is planted make sure the growing area is well weeded, making sure the ‘crowns’ are always covered by at least 14-15cm of soil.
  • It’s not advised to harvest Asparagus in the first year after planting, you should let the spears develop in to a fern, this allows the plant time to grow and increase its root system, which will play a vital role in your harvesting for years to come.

If you’re not up to growing your own Asparagus, then it can be brought for most supermarkets and groceries, but expect a higher price tag to other vegetables. When buying Asparagus always buy tips which are tightly furled and perky and the shoots should be straight and firm. Once home, Asparagus is really easy to prepare and goes well with a variety of dishes, particularly poached eggs and an hollandaise sauce, or you can wrap tips in bacon, Asparagus also works really well as an side dish alongside a roast dinner or quiche.

Preparing Asparagus is really easy, it can be boiled or steamed for around 3 to 5 minutes, roasted for 15 minutes or grilled for around 5 minutes. It’s always best to enjoy Asparagus with a slight crunch so be careful not to overcook it as it will lose a lot of its flavour and nutrients this way.

If we’ve got you in the mood to try out Asparagus this season then why don’t you get stuck in to our delicious recipe of Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with a Hollandaise Sauce? Really simple to prepare it makes a delicious starter and it’s by far the best way to enjoy our seasonal favourite. Go on – support Great British Asparagus this year!  

Other seasonal delights:

Vegetables: Chicory, New Potatoes, Peas, Sage, Cauliflower, Rocket, Watercress, Wild Garlic

Fruit: Gooseberry, Nectarine

Meat and Game: Rabbit, Spring Lamb, Wood Pigeon

Fish and Shellfish: Haddock, Plaice, Lemon Sole, Sardines, Trout, Crab