Asparagus is native to Europe, and while not everyone’s favourite vegetable, we'll be eating it several times a week during the local season. But it does have lots of health benefits; it's a great source of fibre and is rich in vitamins A, B and C as well as folic acid. And there are lots of exciting recipes to try.
When buying asparagus choose firm but tender stalks with good colour and closed tips. Asparagus soon looses its flavour and tenderness so it is best eaten as fresh as possible. Before cooking rinse it in cold water and remove the woody ends of the stalks. Boil, or preferably steam, it until just tender (about 5 minutes) and eat with a knob of butter, maybe some parmesan cheese, and crusty bread. Or try it in a stir-fry, cooked and cooled in salad, or quickly cooked and tossed with some olive oil and pasta.
Asparagus comes in different styles: green, purple or white; thicker or thinner. The thinner green stalks, called sprue, are our favourites for both flavour and tenderness, although this isn't the received wisdom.
There's more on British asparagus lots of recipe ideas at www.british-asparagus.co.uk.