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Mudwalls Asparagus

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Springing into season!

You know spring has sprung when supermarket shelves start to fill up with long-awaited, locally-grown favourites. Perhaps most eagerly anticipated of all is world-leading fresh Vale of Evesham and Wye Valley asparagus and locally-grown, pick your own strawberries – get your fill before the season’s out…

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Asparagus

Traditionally, the asparagus season does not begin until St George’s Day on 23rd April, and lasts a few short weeks until Midsummer’s Day on 21st June. It’s definitely worth getting your fill while you can – our Wye Valley asparagus is world-renowned and there’s even as 6-week long celebration to mark the season. Asparagus is ridiculously quick to cook – just a few minutes stir frying with olive oil and seasoning is enough – and fantastically good for you too, containing numerous vitamins and minerals. This versatile veggie will partner anything from Parma ham and smoked salmon to hollandaise sauce and quiche, but often needs nothing more than some melted butter, a squirt of lemon and seasoning.

Try this: make a spring risotto by adding chargrilled asparagus along with crumbly feta cheese to the end of your risotto cooking time.

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Strawberries

As always at this time of year, the race is on for the first British strawberries to hit the shops. If you can, it’s worth holding out for home-grown fruits as imported ones are grown for their ability to transport rather than their texture or flavour. That means they are often picked before fully ripe. Strawberries do not ripen once picked, so it’s always best to choose locally grown fruits, such as ours from Hayles Fruit Farm, as they can be left to ripen on the plant for longer.

Try this: make a summery strawberry ice cream shake by blending hulled strawberries with 300ml cold milk and three scoops of vanilla ice cream until thick and creamy. Pour into tall glasses and top with sliced strawberries.

Jersey Royals

With a short growing season from April to June, these new season potatoes are eagerly anticipated each spring. So distinctive and popular are the Jersey Royals that they enjoy a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). The reason for their unique flavour is down to the growing conditions on Jersey – light, well-drained soil with many farmers still using seaweed harvested from the beaches (known as vraic) as a natural fertiliser. You can use Jerseys in much the same way as new potatoes – roasted, boiled, sautéed or cooled in salads.

Try this: cook a pan of Jersey Royals until soft. Dice pancetta and sauté lightly. Nip a few rosemary leaves from a branch and add to the pancetta. Slice the Royals and add to the pan and toss together. Serve as a side dish.

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Watercress

Hot and peppery, this little salad leaf certainly packs a punch for its size in the flavour stakes. It’s also a high scorer in the superfood stakes, being rich in health-promoting nutrients: who knew that watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges, more vitamin E than broccoli and more calcium than milk? Good reasons if ever you needed them to indulge in this salad leaf at all times – pile it into sandwiches for a piquant lift, toss it into salads for an exciting twist or serve it alongside dishes such as lasagna or salmon fishcakes and let its sharp bite cut through the richness of the meals.

Try this: enjoy a warming salad by roasting a tray of olive-oil-doused fennel, butternut squash, red onion and garlic. Add a handful of pine kernels and cook until toasted. Arrange everything on a plate, garnish with watercress and finish with a honey and mustard dressing.

Rhubarb

With its sweet tartness, this old-school ingredient adds a spring-time zing to puddings and savoury dishes. Commonly used in desserts such as crumbles, rhubarb can also be used to pep up meat feasts – it’s great roasted alongside pork or lamb. If you find this fruit a little tart, try enhancing its flavour with apples, raspberries or ginger.

Try this:  stewed rhubarb is a really versatile ingredient to have on standby and is so easy to make. Simply stew stalks of chopped rhubarb with a little honey or sugar until soft. Keep in the fridge for a few days and use to top porridge, ice cream and rice pudding.

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50p off Mudwalls Asparagus
Valid until 4th April 2024
Scan your Taste Club card or app at the till when you buy a bunch of Mudwalls Asparagus and get 50p off. Valid for 3 uses. Offer available until 2nd May 2024. Offer is not transferable and discount cannot be retrospectively applied.