It’s the Asparagus season!
The British Asparagus season is now fully up and running, officially the season starts in the 23rd April and runs to the first day of summer, the 21st June. I would love to know how accurate these dates actually are?
It’s been rumoured that we are going to have a bumper crop this year which perfect conditions on the run up to the season, which essentially means that it has not been too cold. However for this rumour to hold true we need to have a decent amount of rain between now and June to keep the crops producing.
Over the years I’ve not had much success in growing asparagus, for starters it takes patience (which I don’t have a lot of) as you have to leave it for at least 2 growing seasons before harvesting any. I’ve now completed the 2 years of patiently waiting only to be rewarded with two very thin asparagus spears! Yep…Two! As that’s not going to feed a family of 4, Evie and I hopped in the car and drove a few miles down the road to our local Pick Your Own in South Stoke, Oxfordshire. Here we were rewarded with a field full of asparagus spears.
An asparagus field is a funny sight as to begin with it just looks like a muddy field but as you get closer you begin to see the rows of spears sprouting up out of the soil.
It’s a great activity for kids to get involved with as to harvest the asparagus you simply lightly bend the spear. When you apply a small amount of pressure it will snap where the sugars end. This also means that it is so fresh you have zero wastage when preparing your spears to cook, as you can eat the whole spear. The other benefit is that you are only paying for what you are going to eat. Going to the pick your own was good value at £6.60 per kilo, cheaper than the super markets and we had fun at the same time.
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin C, E and Iron and the fresher it is, the richer the vitamins and minerals. But it is also very low in calories, only 4 Kcal per spear! I might have to go easy on the wild garlic butter to realise any calorie benefit…
It’s really easy to cook Asparagus, either blanch for a couple of minutes in boiling water, lightly pan fry for a few minutes or even roast in a hot oven. It’s also wonderful on a BBQ and super speedy. If grilling or placing it on a BBQ try it wrapped in parma ham to give a salty taste, or for a veggie option shave parmesan over the top once it has finished cooking.
Today I chose to serve the asparagus for brunch. I lightly blanched the asparagus and placed it on toasted sour dough with a fried duck egg on top. Try and leave the yolk as runny as possible as the asparagus spears are fantastic dipped in it. Delicious.
There are lots of recipes on the British Asparagus site if you need more inspiration.
I am now hoping that we do have the bumper season, as forecasted, so we can keep going back for more of this vibrant veggie.