Wild Asparagus (Ayrelli)

Updated: Mar 1

A firm favourite with all Cypriots is Wild Asparagus (Ayrelli in Cypriot). This is found all over Northern Cyprus and can be harvested during February and March.

Wild asparagus grows in fertile soil with good drainage. . After the winter rains, asparagus bushes start to shoot and it is these fresh shoots which are eaten. The asparagus bush is a large and thorny perennial which can live between 15 and 20 years. When you start foraging you may not notice edible stems, which are often hidden in the depths of the bush, however once you learn to recognise them, you will find stems with ease.

White & Black Asparagus

There are two types of asparagus in Cyprus, the white and black. White wild asparagus is more highly prized with a less bitter taste, the stems are more erect, with stiff and tight tops. After picking your asparagus, wash well then cut off the tough lower part of the stem and place in a glass of water for a couple of days before cooking. Asparagus can be frozen, cut the asparagus, into small pieces can place in a plastic bag in the freezer.

Wild asparagus can be found for sale in markets, green grocers and by the roadside throughout the season.

Nutritional Value

Wild asparagus is an excellent diuretic and cleans the gastrointestinal tract. It is also considered to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Other claimed benefits are that it improves memory, and is recommended for the prevention of cancer.

Wild asparagus contains vitamin B, folic acid, vitamins C, vitamin E, carotene, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Some of these benefits are reduced through the cooking process, however it is not advisable to eat raw as it has a strong, bitter taste prior to cooking. Steam for 5 minutes to remove the bitterness and soften the stems

Source: Cyprusalive.com https://www.facebook.com/topguidecy/posts/agrelia-the-cypriot-asparagusin-winter-the-rainy-weather-in-cyprus-not-only-cove/2227434490912244/;

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