Asparagus is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed with a hearty main dish to a delicious side dish to a base for soups and salads.
There are up to 300 species native from Siberia to southern Africa.
Garden asparagus is the most like variety you will find at your local market when in season.
As of 2018 the leading producers of asparagus are China, Peru, Mexico, Germany, and Thailand.
If the spears or stalks are harvested while their tender. If harvested later when the tips have flowered, the stalks will be very woody.
The thinner the spear, the younger and more tender the asparagus.
The Colors Of Asparagus
As noted there are up to 300 varieties of asparagus with three different colors.
The most popular variety, and are typically available in most supermarkets during the spring.
This variety is grown by covering it completely with soil so that stalks never see sunlight and begin to photosynthesize. This variety is more tender and less bitter.
This variety, comes from Italy. It is lower in fiber content, making them more tender and less fibrous than their white and green counterparts.
While the stalks are purple on the outside, the interior of the asparagus is the same as a green spear.
As noted, green asparagus is more widely available. Where as the purple and white varieties can be seasonally sold at farmers markets or in specialty stores.
Flavor Profile Of Asparagus
Green asparagus is a bit grassy in flavor, while white asparagus is mild and slightly bitter.
Purple asparagus is a bit nuttier and sweeter because it has about 20 percent more sugar in its stalks.
Skinny spears (pencil-thin) are best chopped and eaten raw in salads.
Medium stalks (the most common) are sold by the bunch, typically about a pound.
Really big, meaty asparagus stalks, about one-inch thick are great for shaving with a vegetable peeler into thin wide ribbons to use as vegetable noodles.
Thicker Spears Of Asparagus Shaved To Prepare This Vegetable Noodle Dish – Ham Asparagus Alfredo
Cooking With Asparagus
All three colors of asparagus can be prepared in the same way – roasted, baked, sauteed, shaved and used in salads or as vegetable noodles and incorporated into a breakfast item, like an omelette or frittata.
The spears of white asparagus are thicker and a little bit more fibrous than green asparagus, so are better suited for roasting and grilling.
Try these asparagus recipes.
Asparagus For Breakfast
Asparagus For Dinner
Asparagus As A Side Dish
More Deliciously Yummy Recipes