British Asparagus is a seasonal crop, and it should be enjoyed for the 8 weeks or so, from the end of April until the middle of June, when it is in season.
Boil, steam, grill, roast, or barbeque asparagus – it is quite versatile – and delicious when served simply. Eat it simply – dipped in a boiled egg or hollandaise sauce.
Boil for 3 to 4 minutes
Steam for 3 to 5 minutes
Grill for 6 to 8 minutes
Roast for 5 to 10 minutes
BBQ for 5 to 8 minutes
Planted as a crown, asparagus takes two years to properly establish. It can then be productive for 10 years or longer. A perennial plant, it is the young spears that are cooked and eaten.
Once the harvesting season is over the spears are left to grow into ferns. When these ferns die down in the autumn, the energy is returned back into the crown and stored ready for the following year.
Asparagus comes from the Greek ‘asparagos’, meaning shoot or sprout. It can grow incredibly quickly – in ideal conditions an asparagus spear can grow up to 10 cm in a day. In the East, the translation of its name is ‘European bamboo’.