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Spring Asparagus

Grab them while you can and give your gut and taste buds a treat!

September 13, 2016

Spring Asparagus

Local asparagus are the celebrity vegetables of spring. Exceptional asparagus is grown in the Swan Valley, Bickley Valley and the south west of this state and it is only available from October to December.  WA grown white, green and purple asparagus are available in varying abundance. Don’t boil purple variety as they disappointingly turn green!  Instead, give them a brief stint on the BBQ or grill for any chance of retaining any colour. Alternatively, cut into thin slices and eat raw.

Asparagus farmers

Asparagus are a member of the lily family. If plants are grown from seed, harvest takes 3 to 5 years to reach. After this time, because the plant is perennial it will reappear and crops can be enjoyed each year. The crowns have to build up a network of roots and store huge amounts of nutrients in order to produce asparagus spears. low yield per square metre (one plant).

I love this image of brothers at their Raffa Fields farm in Victoria. If you’ve never seen asparagus growing, there’s almost a magical quality to it as each season they pop their spring heads out of the soil.

Green and white asparagus are the same variety. White is produced by growing in the dark. Without sunlight the plant is unable to produce chlorophyll.

Prebiotic vegetables are essential for a healthy us. They reach far into the large intestine when digested and probiotics love them. Our microbiobes hang out here and we are all growing to understand how important these are to our wellbeing. Asparagus are excellent prebiotics so give your gut a treat. Your body will thank you.

Asparagus are natural diuretics, they cleanse the liver. They are high in folate which assists in disease risk reduction. Some people will experience a certain ‘odour’ when they pee after eating asparagus. After intensive and exhaustive research I have come up with the reason why only some people have noticed this phenomenon; only about 45% of people have a certain gene in their bodies that produce this aroma in their urine! Fascinating stuff.

Asparagus

Select asparagus that is smooth and bright green in colour with firm, unblemished tips that are dark green with a hint of purple. Avoid asparagus that is limp, dried out or wrinkled. Choose spears of an even thickness so that they will cook at the same time.

Asparagus will keep for 2 to 3 days but is best eaten as soon as possible. Store in a vegetable bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator or stand in a jar of water in the fridge.

Asparagus is easy to prepare and simple to cook. The ends can be tough and stringy so hold the root end between one forefinger and thumb hand and mid way up the stem with other thumb and forefinger, and snap. The asparagus spear will naturally break at the point where the woody end meets the tender part of the stem. Discard the thick, woody end. Sadly  I have not found any use for these apart from compost.

Asparagus Nut Brown Sage Butter and Feta

Asparagus is ‘fast-food’ and can be quickly steamed, char-grilled, BBQ’d, roasted or blanched within a few minutes.

To blanch, cook asparagus in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stems and temperature and bulk of the vegetable as it goes in the water. They should be tender while retaining a bite. White asparagus can be thicker than green and can take a touch more time to cook.

If wanting to serve cold plunge into iced water to halt the cooking process and retain the vivid green colour.

If dressing asparagus, do so when serving. If pre-dressed, over time acid will bleach the stems to an unappetising mustard yellow grey colour.

Try these recipes and make the most of this fabulous vegetable in season.

Asparagus Nut Brown Sage Butter and Feta

Asparagus and Ham Cheesy Quesadillas

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Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
FOUNDER, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND TEACHER
Tracey Cotterell

TECH DIP HOTEL CATERING AND INSTITUTIONAL MANAGEMENT

Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

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Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell

FOUNDER, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND TEACHER


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