by: Gerhild Fulson / Cookbook Author, Blogger, German Oma!
Cooking asparagus can be a real challenge. Especially if you're used to the white variety and can only find green available. Or, you want green and all you can find is white.
In fact, did you even know that asparagus comes in various colors?
I didn't. Having come to Canada as a child, all I knew was the delicious green variety. It wasn't until I travelled to Germany many, many years later that I discovered that Germans really only know the white variety.
Before I list the various recipes, though, let me show you just what asparagus season, aka Spargelsaison, is like. It's a time a celebration in Germany.
In fact, in most restaurants you'll find special menu inserts that feature Spargel, and only Spargel ... in soups, salads, sides, main dishes ... everything Spargel.
There are road side stands. There are farm stores. Spargel is everywhere. But, only during the spring. Fresh from the farm.
In the spring, as you travel through Germany, you'll see fields of covered asparagus rows. This photo is taken near Walsrode in Lower Saxony, Germany.
Cooking asparagus in Germany is so easy, since it can be purchased at many farms already peeled and sorted. You can buy just the tips.
You can buy just the stalks ... either fat or skinny. You choose what's best for your recipe.
And, to top it off, you can even buy the Hollandaise sauce, already made. Not a dried package mix, but ready to heat and serve with your fresh asparagus. So yummy.
Peeled white asparagus is often displayed as the luxury item it is.
Here, it's shown, nestled on ice along with some local bottled brew, with some pre-made Hollandaise sauce available as well.
The easy way to peel white asparagus! This machine is at one of the farms we visited just outside of Walsrode, Germany.
The last time I was over in Germany, visiting my cousin, we went to various farms to purchase the white asparagus. Mostly, one could buy them already peeled.
So easy! The machine, shown above, does all the tedious work.
However, I do recall going through a shopping plaza in Hamburg, and in the grocery area, there was a shop where someone was sitting and peeling the asparagus by hand in order to sell them 'peeled' as well.
Green Asparagus is the most common available in the States and Canada. It has the strongest 'asparagus' flavor, sort of 'grassy'. To cook this, only the lower fibrous end needs to be 'snapped' or cut off.
Purple Asparagus has a bit of a fruity, nutty flavor, is sweeter and is less stringy than the green type. This one tastes wonderful raw. Cooking asparagus, it will eventually turn green.
White Asparagus has been grown without light (as shown in the photo above) by hilling it and covering it. This keeps the chlorophyll from developing and keeps the stalks creamy white.
White is more labor-intensive to grow and quite expensive in the State and Canada. It is most widely cultivated in Germany. To cook this, the whole stalk needs to be peeled from right under the head to the end, and then about 1" of the bottom end also cut off.
Grab your copy of Oma's favorite asparagus recipes in A is for Asparagus eCookbook.
Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!
Yes, you can actually buy the Hollandaise sauce already made. However, it's so easy to make your own. Check out this recipe and then see the ones listed below.
Did you know that asparagus contains asparagusic acid. When one eats asparagus, this chemical is broken down into a group of related sulfur-containing compounds.
It appears that some people produce the smell, some people can smell the smell, some can produce it and not smell it, and some can smell it and not produce it, and some can smell it and produce it.
Just thought you'd like to know! :)
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Words to the Wise
"Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty."
Proverbs 21:5 (NLT)