Season's best

Nutty and delicious asparagus is in season now

The asparagus season may be brief, but it’s certainly worth making the most of it. Unbeatably fresh and full of flavour, British asparagus is often served steamed with hollandaise sauce or melted butter and can add a touch of luxury to dishes like risotto, salads or tarts. Choose firm, springy, fresh-looking stems and avoid those that look wrinkly and dry. Asparagus has the best flavour when eaten as fresh as possible, but you can store it in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to four days.

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Also in season...

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

With its tightly packed, creamy white florets (called curds) and delicate, nutty flavour, cauliflower tastes delicious and looks great too. Choose one with a fresh scent and no browning for the best taste. Cauliflower is perfect for steaming, roasting or whizzing into a soup, but it’s also great raw – try thinly slicing the florets to make a beautiful salad. You can even lightly grill cauliflower steaks for a light and tasty snack.

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Spinach

Young spinach has small, bright green leaves, and a mild, sweet flavour that can be enjoyed raw in salads. As the plant matures the leaves become darker and slightly bitter, making them better for blanching and steaming. Spinach has a very high water content, so if adding to cooked dishes, such as pies, quiches or stews, be sure to get rid of as much excess liquid as possible.

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Lettuce

Lettuce

This leafy salad ingredient comes in lots of delicious varieties - cos, romaine, little gem, iceberg and butterhead are just some of the most popular. Add to sandwiches, salads or enjoy on it’s own with a little olive oil and plenty of seasoning. You can even grill the leaves to make them extra tasty and use them as a healthy alternative to tortilla wraps.

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New potatoes

New potatoes

New potatoes are young potatoes picked early. They are small, firm and waxy in texture with a distinctive sweet flavour. Jersey Royal new potatoes are the most popular and are in season between April and July. As with all types of potato they can be enjoyed in many ways – boiled, steamed, roasted, baked – and are delicious when added to salads or served as a side.

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Rhubarb

This distinctive pink vegetable is famously grown in the “Rhubarb Triangle” of West Yorkshire and is a popular ingredient in British puddings and baking. ‘Forced’ rhubarb is sweeter, thinner and pinker than other varieties and is available in April, before making way for greener, field-grown varieties. A great match with ginger and orange, rhubarb works well in both sweet and savoury dishes, such as a crumble or with roast pork.

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Lamb

With a distinct flavour lamb is delicious in roasts, tagines and salads. Look for meat that is bright pink if you’re buying spring lamb, as the meat darkens as the animal matures, it should also be firm, moist and grainy. Lamb is at its best in spring when the flavour is delicate and fragrant. 

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