Asparagus 250G Bunch Class 1 - Peru £3.49 Alton United Kingdom Www.getfreshandfruity.co.uk

Asparagus 250G Bunch

Class 1 - Peru

  • £3.49
  • Save £0.46


Asparagus

Pronounce it:a-spa-ra-gus

Labour-intensive to grow, asparagus are the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant. They're considered to be one of the delicacies of the vegetable world, with a price tag to match, and have a distinct, intense savoury flavour. Sprue is the term for young, very slender asparagus.

While French asparagus is purple, the British and American varieties are green. In contrast, Spanish and much Dutch asparagus is white, as it's grown beneath the soil and cut just as the tips emerge.

All types pack a nutritional punch, with high levels of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and calcium, and they're also diuretic, giving urine an unmistakable aroma (which, curiously, not everyone can smell!).

Learn how to cook asparagus and read our guide about its health benefits.

Availability

Imports are available all year round, but the British stuff, which is reckoned by many to be the best, is available from May to July.

Choose the best

The tips should be tightly furled and perky, rather than limp, and the shoots should be straight and firm.

Prepare it

Sprue needs no preparation other than a wash. For larger asparagus (which will also have more flavour), bend the spear until it snaps and throws the woody end away. If the ends still feel tough, you can pare away the exterior to reveal the more tender flesh beneath.

    Recipes


    Super spring salad

    By John Torode

    Although the season is very short, English Asparagus is well worth the wait for its unbeatable flavour and freshness. We show you how to cook asparagus to perfection in our simple and delicious recipes, from asparagus soup to asparagus risotto.

    Recipes using asparagus

    Main course

    Light meals and snacks

    Brunch

    Starters and nibbles

    Side dishes

    See all recipes using asparagus

    Buyer's guide

    Asparagus is best when grown and picked fresh. Regardless of whether you're buying thin'sprue'or extra-large 'jumbo'spears, always choose stems that are firm and lush, rather than dry and wrinkly. Avoid any stems that are discoloured, scarred or turning slimy at the tips. If you're using whole spears, then make sure the buds are tightly furled. If you're making soup, though, you could also use the cheaper,loose-tipped spears you sometimes find on market stalls.

    The less time it takes to get from the field to the plate,  the better it will taste because the sugars in the plant start to turn to starch once it's picked. British-grown asparagus takes about 24 hours to get from plant to supermarket shelf, but it's worth checking the sell-by dates and visiting PYO farms for the freshest specimens you can find. When it comes from outside the UK will spend longer in transport.

    Preparation

    Despite what you may have read or heard, it's not necessary to buy a steamer, nor to bind it into a bundle and cook it upright in a pan. For the best results, wash the stems thoroughly in a sink full of cold water. Then trim the stalks and, if the lower part of the stem seems tough when sliced and eaten raw, lightly peel the bottom third of the stem. Drop loose spears into a pan of boiling water and cook until just tender. The cooking time varies according to the thickness of the stems but ranges between 3-5 minutes. Once it's cooked, drain and pat dry on kitchen paper. If you're serving it cold, you'll get the best flavour if, rather than cooling under the cold tap, you spread the hot it out to cool on some kitchen paper.

    Fresh, tender it can be served raw: use a vegetable peeler to cut thin shavings into a salad and dressing it with a lemon vinaigrette, or serve it whole with aioli for dipping. White asparagus is particularly good raw. English Asparagus


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