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Green and Purple Asparagus is available in Germany as well. But, the most popular and the most traditional is the White Asparagus.
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 already peeled and sorted.
You can buy just the tips.
You can buy just the stalks ... either fat or skinny.
And, to top it off, you can even buy the Hollandaise sauce, already made.
In the farm stores, white asparagus is sold, usually peeled, and sorted: just the tips, just the stalks, thick, thin. You choose what's best for your recipe.
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.
Differences between Green, Purple, and White Asparagus
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. It 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.
Yes, you can actually buy the Hollandaise sauce already made. However, it's so easy to make your own. Check out the recipe shown 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.
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Oma's Cookbooks (downloadable & print)
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Pin these to keep for when you're ready to pull out your pots for cooking asparagus
Words to the Wise
"Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty."
Gerhild’s Just Like Oma website has always been a go-to when I’m searching for German recipes that taste like home, so I’m absolutely delighted that her fabulous recipes have been captured in book form.
This beautiful cookbook is loaded with regional recipes and mouthwatering photographs.
Best of all, there are tips to insure that your dishes taste just like Oma’s. German Meals at Oma's is destined to be a kitchen essential for all German-American kitchens
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