View Full Version : Asparagus season is nigh

25th Apr 2009, 13:53
Grilled in butter, squeeze of lemon, grind of black pepper. Sorted.


25th Apr 2009, 14:25
A yes, my first Spargel was May 1969 in Seligenstadt.
I was working at Dudenhofen . . .

25th Apr 2009, 14:28
Ah smelly wee season

I love the way some countries embrace the seasonality of their produce, in the Sauerland area of Germany during asparagus season it is easy to eat a whole meal of asparagus dishes from appertiser to pudding and very tasty they are too :D

25th Apr 2009, 14:31

Oi! That's not Spargel!


(I know, you never said it was)

25th Apr 2009, 14:31
The best aparagus patches have horses buried under them, I was told. No reason not to believe it.

25th Apr 2009, 14:44

8 white asparagus
200 grammes best quality Belgian ham, chopped
2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
large amount of melted butter (salted)
skip the potatoes

Gorge, stuff, gobble, binge. :ok:

25th Apr 2009, 14:55
That wee effect doesn't happen to everyone. It's genetic.

25th Apr 2009, 14:58
Rots me colostomy bag though :E

25th Apr 2009, 15:05
Worst thing about a colostomy (for women anyway) is finding shoes to match the bag.

Whiskey Oscar Golf
25th Apr 2009, 15:05
Wrapped in a good proscuitto with some salt and pepper. Even better when you go out the back and pick them fresh. The ferns are a bugger in the off season but they are worth it and they last a while as a plant, like rhubarb, another favourite that's planted nearby. MMMMM, apple and rhubarb pie, good cream, now that's a desert.

25th Apr 2009, 15:07

Genetically enhanced spargel or are you implying that my family have the "smelly wee when eating spargel gene"?

One needs to know, you know

25th Apr 2009, 15:09
I think it's genetic on the part of the asparagee, not the asparagus.

There may be a doctor here or even a nurse who could elaborate.

25th Apr 2009, 15:12
Son's mother-in-law brought 'asparagus' from France.
It was white and very large - about 20mm diameter and 200mm long.
Very tasty!

25th Apr 2009, 15:21
Following the consumption of asparagus, the urine of some people contains various sulfur-containing compounds, which produce a smell identified by some people. The prevalence of smell production and detection is debated.
This phenomenon has been observed since the 18th century, and is caused by (the metabolism of) asparagusic acid and its derivatives, which are present in asparagus but not other vegetables.
Observational evidence from the 1950s showed that many people did not know about the phenomenon of asparagus urine. There is debate about whether all (or only some) people produce the smell, and whether all (or only some) people identify the smell.
It was originally thought this was because some of the population digested asparagus differently than others, so that some people excreted odorous urine after eating asparagus, and others did not. However, in the 1980s three studies from France, China and Israel published results showing that producing odorous urine from asparagus was a universal human characteristic. The Israeli study found that from their 307 subjects all of those who could smell 'asparagus urine' could detect it in the urine of anyone who had eaten asparagus, even if the person who produced it could not detect it himself. Thus, it is now believed that most people produce the odorous compounds after eating asparagus, but only about 22% of the population have the autosomal genes required to smell them.
From (and more at):- Asparagus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus)

25th Apr 2009, 15:24
Asparagus already here in Italy. And Artichokes.
Yum Yum

25th Apr 2009, 15:35
G CPTN. You've just gotta be taking the P*SS.

25th Apr 2009, 15:41
white and very large

G-CPTN are you sure it was asparagus? People who have been there say French shops are full of strange and unidentifiable things which the native people eat.

You've just gotta be taking the P*SS.

I reckon he might be with 'asparagusic acid'

25th Apr 2009, 15:55
Mmmm Asparagus! But the fresh stuff is the best. That recipe from juud looked very tempting. Used to love spargel season in Germany, that's something that is lamentably missing in the UK, the wonders of eating such produce in season. Nowdays, thanks to the supermarkets, everything is available at all times of the year. Nothing beats waiting for and enjoying a whatever in it's season.

Apparently there's more aspar-whatever chemical in the white asparagus and is therefore better for you, although i prefer the green variant. I always forget that i've eaten asparagus and then when in the bathroom for the first pee thereafter am shocked by this strange smell that eminates upwards, and then the penny drops :p. With me it could happen as soon as 10mins after eating, but even stranger is that it lasts for over 24hrs on average. I can't think of any other food stuff that has such a quick, yet long lasting side effect.



25th Apr 2009, 16:03
What about the red pee thing after beetroot? Or red teeth after red wine? Eerie.

25th Apr 2009, 16:03
After you've seared your bit of cow on one of these or something similar (preferably a nice marbled and tasty cut eg not sirloin)
Le Creuset 24cm Square Grill - Low Prices at Cookware-Online.co.uk (http://www.cookware-online.co.uk/shop/pots-and-pans/le-creuset-cast-iron-and-poterie/le-creuset-24cm-square-grill-510882.html) (on a BBQ - and we won't go into the type of fuel source)

- if you then chuck your asparagus onto the very hot grill and also add some stock (chicken stock will do) making sure that you put the lid down as it will flare up impressively (therefore probably best not to do this if you don't have a lid) and "steam" for 3-4 mins depending on the size of the greened spear I can assure you that they come out very nicely to go with aforementioned bovine.

A bit of Colmans freshly made English balances out the flavours nicely.

As does a suitable Bordeaux or Barolo of the right vintage :ok:


25th Apr 2009, 16:06
Don't tell me there's now something PC about barbecue fuel? :uhoh:

25th Apr 2009, 16:07
Had a mate who was in the Navy that actually went sick
with "Red" pee after eating loads of beetroot.
MO told him to p*ss off!

25th Apr 2009, 16:12
Why not. What's a little kidney trauma?

25th Apr 2009, 16:20
OK let's up the ante.

Used to have a developed bed in the garden when I was a lad and all sorts of rules needed to be obeyed to ensure future provenance - me Dad was a bit protectionist over his pride and joy.

To care for the bed you have to:

Chuck dog poo over it in the winter.
Never, ever, cut off an emerging spargelette before it reaches at least 3" above ground.
Allow 10% of your crop to flower.
Chuck a bit more dog poo on.
Aerate the ground by chucking as many worms as you can find on the bed.
Around this time of year you should be able to harvest your bed.
He always claimed it took him 15 years to get enough for a romantic spargel evening with me Mum - we moved after the second meal, might have something to do with the dog poo fixation!

Now what is the difference between white and green - I falsely believed that the extremely tasty white asparagus was "force" grown i.e. kept in the dark, is it a case of variety?

Follow Juud's recipe after harvesting :ok:

25th Apr 2009, 17:16
One does suffer very much from the 'wee' effect, and the wee colour, but one has noticed if one overdoses on Asparagus, there is a small degree of kidney pain as well. In fact a reasonable, though not large, amount of kidney discomfort. Anybody else have this?

25th Apr 2009, 17:51
This goes with your smoked-salmon thread.

Wrap some smoked salmon around the asparagus, drizzle with lemon and fresh cracked pepper.

25th Apr 2009, 17:51
Needs answering - how many other JB's ate Spargel in der Vaterland (Lande: Hessen) in the years from 1968 - 1993 when I was there.

Just wondering whether I was ever standing alongside any of you out in the fields, heaping the earth ever higher to make it grow long and white.

25th Apr 2009, 18:02

Guilty as charged although mainly in NRW and Niedersachsen.


25th Apr 2009, 18:20
Ooohh I love asparagus. Lightly steamed and tossed with melted butter. :ok:

Still great believers in following seasonal fruit and veg in this house.

25th Apr 2009, 18:38
Lightly steamed and tossed with melted butter.
It was delightful to come 'home' (back to the Hotel zum Reisen) to a dish of freshly-picked Spargel in butter, followed by a steak with a side serving of Spargel.
The HzR didn't do 'chips', but the Inn across the road did (as well as beer of course).
What a summer that was!
I don't suppose I'd recognise the place now (after forty years) . . .

25th Apr 2009, 19:41
I can buy it from local farms "in season" here, or I can buy it from the local market out of season - imported from Peru - there's only a few pence difference in price and no difference in quality, both very tasty.

I'd love to grow it myself in my veg' garden, but, doespite following all the rules (except dressing it with dog poo), I've had no success.

Any tips?

25th Apr 2009, 19:57
Since I discovered the green ones, I've gone 'off' the white ones ; the green ones lack that slightly bitter taste, which I don't like.
Matter of taste, of course.

The real treat, IMHO : wild asparagus... we're in mid-season at the moment, we even have them growing wild in the garden.
Extremely thin (think a large blade of grass, almost).
Delicious raw, all the flavour of asparagus, without having to do anything to them.
Pity the season is so short.


25th Apr 2009, 20:25
C.J. -
I was not fond of it when I lived for my first 35 years at my latitude in Italy.
But now, thanks to the northener's preparation escamotages I do like it.
Never got to like Brussel sprouts for that matter, even though I cook it for my wife, every now and then.
(I owe you a PM, my friend, I will do ASAP! Was busy with some other matters).

Best to you, Paolo

25th Apr 2009, 20:27
Lightly toss in olive oil, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, sprinkle on kosher salt and lightly toss with fresh dill weed.

Grill directly over charcoal turning often to assure even cooking. DO NOT OVER COOK!

No matter how much you make, you will not make enough for everybody.

25th Apr 2009, 20:40
I've got huge numbers of wild asparagus plants growing in the garden as weeds, ChristaanJ, and it's a bloody nuisance. Year after year the neighbours break down my fences at night to get in and steal the stuff. Chopping it down doesn't help as it regrows so quickly.

25th Apr 2009, 20:56
Worst thing about a colostomy (for women anyway) is finding shoes to match the bag.

Oh I dunno, what color dress is the bag wearing?

henry crun
25th Apr 2009, 22:32
Next to eating it a few minutes after picking, one of the joys of spring was to sit in the veggie garden on a sunny spring morning, beer in hand, and watch the asparagus grow.

25th Apr 2009, 22:36
Boiled duck egg with steamed asparagus soldiers...

25th Apr 2009, 23:07
Recently rescued an old asparagus plant found in an old dry and shady part of the garden; I hadn't realised what it was although it's been there for over twenty years. Now it's doing well in a sunny, watered raised bed, along with some more plants bought to keep it company. It's leading the race so far but I don't expect to be harvesting any this year.

25th Apr 2009, 23:33
What actually is an 'old asparagus plant'? Is it a corm?

25th Apr 2009, 23:46
Asparagus boiled for 3-4 minutes then individually wrapped in Parma Ham, put into oven dish and cream poured on top of with some mustard or cheese or nothing added and then baked for 15-20 minutes :ok:

Due to having Gall Bladder removed couple of months ago I will not have the above this year but always next year :)

26th Apr 2009, 00:12
Sounds delicious - but only when I have become sick of 'simple' asparagus. I've never been able to satiate my desire for white asparagus (and green asparagus available in the UK - at least from local (shop) sources - tends to be 'woody' and only the tips are worth eating IMO.
It's rather like fresh peaches and tinned peaches. I enjoy both (but to my liking they are different taste experiences).

henry crun
26th Apr 2009, 00:27
RJM: An asparagus plant is called a crown, and looks like one of these mops.

26th Apr 2009, 02:18
Thanks henry. I get the idea.

It's Sunday here and I think I'll dust off the old asparagus spade and get a bed ready for planting.

26th Apr 2009, 09:43
stepping off-thread for a moment - racedo: Due to having Gall Bladder removed couple of months ago I will not have the above this year but always next year.

I had mine out and afterwards noticed no problems in eating fatty stuff. Chorizo sausage is about the only thing that accepts, sorry, upsets me (but still eat it anyway).

I believe that the gallbladder is redundent in most of us older folk, as by the time we are adults, our body has learned to produce bile etc at the (three) times of the day we usually eat and goes on making enough at the appropriate times after the gall bladder has gone.

So...back to asparagus. Yeah, I prefer the white stuff. Pretty much all you get around the Mediterranian, never the green.

26th Apr 2009, 10:01
Yeah, I prefer the white stuff. Pretty much all you get around the Mediterranian, never the green.That's odd. My side of the Pyrenees (S. France, Montpellier area) we get more of the green than of the white variety.
Since some of it is Spanish import, that may explain where yours is going.


26th Apr 2009, 10:20
Alors, ChristiaanJ, will check with my wife - she buys it. In fact she buys it at AUCHAN in Perpignan. So maybe, as my French colleagues told me all my working life, I am full of it, and not les asperges, either....

Ah well, back to the Calçots. You have to be a MAN to eat these !

YouTube - Calçots (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZUlOQ-_eII&feature=related)


26th Apr 2009, 16:50
LOL, OFSO... it was only coincidence that I did the shopping last week at our Carrefour, and saw that most of what was on sale were the green ones. A 'producteur local' of fruit and vegetables also sells them at the moment : again green only !

Check with the wife.


PS : I don't think calçots have made it north of the border yet...

26th Apr 2009, 18:19
My wife says you can find both white and green asparagus at Auchan. However here at Empuriabrava market (Saturday mornings) they mostly sell white because of the high German content of the local population, and that's what Germans prefer.

There is a very sensuous feeling eating both asparagus and calçots, but as a fastidious person I find it much easier to stay clean when eating the former. I usually feign incompetence when eating calçots and then some nearby female diner, overcome with impatience, comes over and peels them for me. Takes about 30 seconds - Catalan women - especially the prettier ones - have a low tolerance watching idiot men bungling the peeling of calçots and it brings out their motherly instinct. Nothing like a beautiful stranger of the opposite sex lowering a grilled calçot into your upturned mouth !

Two weeks ago in a restaurant at St Marti on the Bay of Roses we were having lunch when a party of six older French, 3 men, 3 ladies, came in and ordered Calçots. It was their first time. As usual in a "fine" restaurant, the waiter brought over all-embracing bibs, rubber gloves etc, for them to wear and left them to don their protective clothing.

Suddenly there was one hell of a bang - we looked around, and discovered that one of the French gentleman had blown into his rubber glove before putting it on, and had exploded it. A moment's pause and every one in the place collapsed in laughter.

Nice people. Nice place. Roaring log fire. Excellent food. Fifteen euros for a three course lunch including a bottle of Perelada and coffee.

And some people wonder why I live here !

26th Apr 2009, 19:39
Yes - but what are they in English? I only ask because I want to know.
The Ancient Mariner

26th Apr 2009, 19:41
Just watered the plot and noticed mine is coming up nicely now, the new crowns catching up with the old one .

26th Apr 2009, 19:44
If I've got the right thing it's these things. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cal%C3%A7ot)

26th Apr 2009, 19:49
Try this :
Time for Calçots! (http://barcelonafied.com/archives/food/mediterranean/time-for-calcots.html)
or try Wikipedia.
Something between leek and onion, and clearly very local.
Even here, only a coupla' hundred miles north, I've never heard of them or seen them.


26th Apr 2009, 20:47
Lexxity, Christian, that's it.

We are just coming to the end of the Calçots season here, but it's worth coming to Catalunia one time during early spring and trying them. And for those frightened of vegeterian meals, calçots normally form part of a complete menu which includes a large amount of steak and so on.

As I said before, go to a nice restaurant, order calçots, look utterly pathetically incompetent eating them, and you'll have fun.