Asparagus

Next month (May) is National Asparagus Month, so we’re celebrating all things great about this delicious vegetable, which is as tasty, as it is healthy for us to eat.

The vegetable is a great source of fibre and is rich in vitamins. It also contains folic acid, perfect for keeping your insides happy and healthy, as well as your skin and hair.

Three colours

Asparagus comes in three colours: green, purple and white. The white variety is grown in the dark to stop the colour developing and is very popular in Europe, while most asparagus in Britain is green.

When buying yours, it’s important to pick stalks with good colour and closed tips.

Rich in vitamins

The plant, which is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, Potassium and Iron, can be eaten raw in salads, steamed or seared and compliments fish or pasta dishes.

Sliced purple asparagus reveals a creamy coloured flesh, which adds an unusual visual dimension to salad and stir-fry dishes.

According to health experts, purple foods have been recognised as having many benefits, such as lowering the risk of some cancers, improving urinary tract health, improving memory function and maintaining healthy aging. This is due to health-promoting phytochemicals, such as anthocyanins and phenolics.

Best in the world

The British Asparagus season is said to be the best in the world. However, the crop can only be harvested for around two months each year in key areas in the UK.

Traditionally it is picked from around St George’s Day, April 23, until June 21, the longest day of the year.

Greeks and Romans

We weren’t the first to eat it. The Greeks and Romans loved its flavour, texture and medicinal properties some 2,000 years ago.

Legend has it, Julius Caesar loved his with just a hint of melted butter!

You should be able to find fresh, locally grown asparagus in many local farm shops, if they are open at the moment, near you.

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