Asparagus is a popular spring food that is packed with good vitamins and minerals . This vegetable helps evacuate excess fluid from your body, fight cardiovascular disease and strengthen your immune system, they also act as a natural aphrodisiac thanks to vitamin B6 and folate.
White, green or purple asparagus: what's the difference?
A harbinger of spring, asparagus of any color makes a savory vegetable dish that can be served on its own, tossed into pasta, or baked in a quiche. This vegetable exists in green, white and purple.
All three types of asparagus are available in the spring, but their differences go far beyond just the color of the stalks. The differences between white asparagus and green asparagus relate to texture, flavor, proper preparation and, perhaps the biggest difference of all, the cultivation method.
Field of green asparagus sunbathing to produce the chlorophyll that gives this green color.
Purple asparagus comes from certain varieties of asparagus, but the difference between white asparagus and green asparagus lies in their method of cultivation. Simply put, white asparagus is grown underground. Farmers pile a thick mound of soil on top of the white asparagus or cover it with black plastic to ensure that not a single ray of sunlight hits the spears, a process known as etiolation. Thus, white asparagus is not exposed to sunlight and does not produce chlorophyll. Green asparagus pierces the earth as it grows, soaking up the sun and producing chlorophyll, which is what causes the green color of the vegetable.
The flavor of green asparagus is a bit grassy, while that of white asparagus is sweet and slightly bitter. Purple asparagus is a little lighter and sweeter, as its stalks contain about 20% more sugar. If the stalks are purple on the outside, the inside of the asparagus is the same as a green stalk. Purple asparagus contains anthocyanins, which explains its color.
Useful to know: asparagus is meant to see the sun, so it has a very slender shape that points upwards. If you want to grow asparagus, all you need to do is add a little soil each time the asparagus is about to come out of the ground. Because it will convince her that the sun is always further away and she will continue to grow. Typically, asparagus is harvested when it is about 18cm tall (because the bigger it is, the harder it is!) It can take a long time to grow (approximately three years before harvest), so if you grow it , it is good to know how to prepare them, especially whether or not to peel the asparagus.
On the left a green asparagus, on the right the purple tip recently emerged from the ground
Should green asparagus be peeled?
We are often told that asparagus must be peeled , especially white asparagus, because they are more rigid than when they come out of the ground. However, are we facing a myth or a reality?
In fact, peeling green asparagus is optional . And yes, not peeling them will not be bad or dangerous for your health. Unlike rhubarb leaves, asparagus skins are not harmful to health. Whether or not people peel their asparagus is based on one thing: texture. Indeed, the lower part is especially fibrous, and rarely appreciated by people, because it is unpleasant to chew. Unlike the tip, it is tender, which is the best part of the asparagus.
We can compare this vision with the heart of the pineapple, which is certainly edible, but not necessarily the most pleasant and delicious part since it is rich in fiber and quite solid.
If part of an asparagus seems too hard or too fibrous depending on the texture and taste you are looking for, then it is up to you to lightly peel part of your green asparagus or not. However, be careful not to peel the top part of the asparagus with the head, because it is useless.
How to peel green asparagus in 3 easy steps?
However you prepare them, it's essential to start with fresh asparagus. Look for firm asparagus with cool ends and tight, compact heads. Avoid soft or wet tips, as well as asparagus whose cut ends look too dry or have cracks. Like most products, asparagus should be relatively heavy for its size.
1) Cut the heel (the lowest part)
To cut the heel, line the asparagus so that the ends are even. Then, using a sharp knife, cut the bottom part of the asparagus about a few centimeters.
You want to get rid of the cut part of the asparagus that has dried out since it was harvested. If you are lucky enough to have freshly picked asparagus from the garden, you can skip this step. (For this look if the heel is wet or not.) You can also make sure that your asparagus are of equal size and that they will be as elegant as possible when finished.
2) Peel the asparagus
Working with one asparagus at a time, lay it on a flat surface and hold the end. You can hold the thicker spears in your hand, like peeling a carrot. However, thinner spears will bend under this kind of pressure, so laying them flat on a work surface will make it easier for you.
Use our multi-purpose vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife to remove the skin from the bottom half of each asparagus . You want to remove the green and white part of the stems under the skin. Repeat this step carefully for all the asparagus.
3) Cook them in a recipe
Your peeled asparagus should now be nice, tender and ready to cook in your recipe of choice. Carefully prepared asparagus is tasty when cut into thin slices and used raw in salads. You can also prepare them steamed and seasoned, on the grill or roasted.
Peel the green asparagus, done. Next ?
In most asparagus recipes , you need to snap off and discard the tough or woody ends of the asparagus. Although this is a quick and easy way to cut asparagus and ensure what ends up on your plate is pleasantly edible. A little extra effort will allow you to eat most of the stalk and get a more elegant and presentable dish.
A tasty recipe based on green asparagus, tomatoes and garden flowers.
You can use asparagus skins in any asparagus recipe, such as soup. So if you're making a quick asparagus soup for the week, for example, then you can cut the stalks off and use them instead of throwing them in the trash.
On the other hand, if you have company and you need to roast asparagus, we will probably spend a little time peeling it first. The same goes for grilling or steaming: when the whole stalks are served, peeling helps to get the best taste out of the dish.
Intermediate cases abound. When asparagus is sautéed, for example, or used raw in a salad. If the stalks are cut, but served, peeling maximizes the amount of asparagus you have to work with, even if the aesthetic effect is more or less lost. If you ever wonder how to peel tomatoes , we also have an article about it.
Green asparagus needs time to settle. It is necessary to wait 3 years to make a first harvest.
The asparagus grows out of the ground and the sun allows it to have this beautiful green color. Finer than the white, it is eaten without being peeled, just cut the hard part of the base. It can be cooked for a very short time in steam, boiling water, in a frying pan,
Grilled or in the oven. The first vegetable of spring, the season is short and extends from the end of March to the beginning of June depending on the weather. The harvest is done every day, one by one, by hand. They are immediately washed, calibrated and packaged.
Eaten simply in a vinaigrette or accompanied by pasta, seafood, country ham, eggs, in risotto or in a velouté, they will delight you all spring long.
Green asparagus is 92% water, low in calories, and rich in minerals. Thanks to the asparagine it contains, it has diuretic properties.
The team of my-peeler-vegetables.fr