Asparagus has been eaten for over 2,000 years(!) and is well known for its delicious taste and succulent texture. The majority of asparagus in the UK is green but you can also get purple or white varieties. It is packed with vitamins and minerals and as spring sees the start of asparagus season, let’s take a look at some great ways to get children to enjoy asparagus:
- Steamed or boiled asparagus can be introduced to babies when they start complementary feeding (also known as weaning) at around 6 months. Asparagus spears make great finger foods for babies and toddlers as they are the perfect size for little hands. Asparagus can also be puréed by blending it to a consistency suitable for babies and mixing it with your baby’s usual milk.
- Foods that taste bitter like asparagus are often disliked by children from birth so it is important to keep offering it to children from an early age to get them accustomed to the taste. Research shows that children can need to be offered a food 10-15 times before they will accept it. Roasted asparagus can taste sweeter so it’s a great way to get children to love asparagus. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet with kitchen foil and lightly drizzle about 2 tsp olive oil on the asparagus. Roast at 200°C/gas 6 for about 12-15 minutes. You can also cook the asparagus spears on a barbecue or griddle pan.
- Asparagus tastes delicious in a frittata. By placing the asparagus spears on the top of the frittata, it creates an attractive dish. This recipe for asparagus and new potato frittata is great served hot or cold and is perfect for picnics or lunchboxes. Cut into "frittata fingers" and serve with a dip or in a roll for a fun lunchbox - add a few extra snacky veg on the side for more exposure.
- Getting children involved with cooking encourages them to try new tastes and flavours. Even the most reluctant eaters will often try new recipes that they have made themselves. Bread art is a great activity for children as it is easy to make and children get the chance to use their imaginations and creativity. Asparagus is great to use in bread art and not only for its attractive appearance. As it is strongly flavoured, it means that no salt is needed in the bread for flavour, making the bread a much healthier option. Try my recipe for bread art using asparagus and other seasonal veg.
- Boiled or steamed asparagus is great with dips. Children love dunking their food into dips so how about creating some healthier dips like this smashed carrot dip to dip asparagus into. You can store cooked asparagus in a sealed plastic container which is a great way for transporting asparagus for picnics, lunchboxes, or days out and storing any leftovers. Or use your cooked asparagus as soldiers for soft-boiled eggs for a veg-packed brekkie!