The ancient Egyptians began cultivating asparagus more than 2,000 years ago.
The Greeks and Romans prized asparagus for its unique flavour, texture, and medicinal qualities. The word asparagus derives from ancient Greek ‘aspharagos’ which in turn originates from the Persian word ‘asparag’ meaning sprout, stalk or shoot.
Our English asparagus season officially started here on May 1st. The harvest lasts for approximately 6 weeks - until mid-June. So whilst asparagus is in season and at its best, grab a bundle and get cooking.
Asparagus can be boiled, steamed, sautéed, grilled, pickled, or served cold.
It makes an enjoyable appetizer, or a good complement to salads, vegetable dishes, and soups.
Once picked, asparagus rapidly loses flavour and tenderness, so it really is worth eating it on the day you pick it or buy it. If that isn't possible, store asparagus in the fridge with a damp paper towel wrapped around the bottom of the stalks and you can get away with keeping it for a couple of days.
To prepare ~ rinse asparagus under cold running water to remove any dirt or sand from the stalks and tips. Then, simply trim off the bottom ends of the asparagus stalks. Find the area where the green colour begins to fade. This is where the tough woody end begins and is where the stalk should be trimmed off. Another alternative method is to just snap off the asparagus ends.
To enjoy asparagus at its best, eat it as fresh as possible, and keep it simple.
Enjoy it with a drizzle of olive oil, a twist of black pepper and a few shavings of Parmesan cheese.
Boil ~ drop the spears into boiling water for 3-6 minutes, until tender.
Steam ~ stand the asparagus in a steamer, cover and cook for 3-6 minutes
Roast ~ put the stalks onto a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and cook
for 10 minutes.