Friday, 8 May 2015

Asparagus Tips


The British Asparagus season is pretty short- generally reckoned to be around eight weeks from the end of April to the end of June. We picked up two bundles on Monday afternoon, on our way home from the Tractor Show from St John’s Farm, Beachamwell.

On Monday evening, we served some as a starter when A&M came over for a meal. Bob steamed some. We each had 6 spears, accompanied by slices of brown bread, and a ramekin of melted butter. It was delicious.

P1010305For lunch on Wednesday, I made a simple tart- using leftovers from fridge and freezer. I sliced some salad potatoes and cooked them for 10 minutes in boiling water. As the spuds cooked, I rolled out half a pack of puff pastry, and scored a rim round the edge. I brushed the pastry with some beaten egg. Then I added a tablespoon of crème fraiche and a teaspoon of dijon mustard to the egg, and mixed it well.

I drained the potatoes, and arranged them on the tart, then spooned the egg mix over. Finally I placed 6 spears on top. I baked this at 170ºC for about 35 minutes [I turned it down after 30mins as it was getting quite brown, and Bob was late home for lunch] This served two of us, and I cooked French beans as an accompaniment, along with a blob of hollandaise [from a jar] It made a lovely warming lunch on a cold blustery day. The remaining spears were cooked and served alongside scrambled egg and toast triangles for our evening meal. You don’t need to fuss with this vegetable- simple ways are best. There are dozens of recipes out there.

british-asparagus-logoI feel very strongly that only British asparagus should be eaten, in season. The stuff is grown all year round in Peru, and shipped 6000 miles to the supermarket shelf so that you can eat it in January or August – but why would you want to? It is lovely to have this special treat just once a year. My father-in-law grew great ‘sparrowgrass’ in his garden in Kent, and Evesham in Worcestershire is the centre of the UK industry – but Norfolk produces a good crop too. This website is very helpful

One important tip – if you are planning on serving asparagus, do leave a can of air freshener in the loo [this page on the BBC website explains why]

Where do we get the name? The Ancient Greeks and Romans used a Persian word asparag which meant shoot. The term sperage became popular for many years and in the 16th century the term sparagus was used in English speaking countries. The peasants called it sparrow grass. Finally, asparagus became the popular name in Britain during Victorian times.


  1. Mmmmm, asparagus!!!! We have been eating it all week! So tasty! Your ideas sound great! We had ours mixed with pak Chou, fried with lemon and herbs with a haddock fishcake x

  2. excellent tip!!! Rarely eat the stuff, no idea why.

    1. It is quite expensive, so only an annual once off treat in this house!

  3. The joy of growing your own is you can eat it every other day or so for several weeks. As you say - simple is best with this and we are the peasants who still call it sparrow grass!

  4. We grow our own ,and it is fabulous!
    Place on a baking tray,drizzle with salt ,pepper, and oil.
    Bake for 18 mins then top with lemony toasted breadcrumbs. So tasty, as roasting brings out a different flavour.
    Jane x

  5. Your asparagus meals sound just delicious! We love it too. It's in the stores for a good price and now my Dad's patch is producing beautifully. Nothing like fresh! I like mine lightly roasted with olive oil and salt & pepper.


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