Asparagus, a seasonal dish, but are they all the same?
Despite the same variety between French and German asparagus, they have great differences. Their colours, tastes and size distinguish them. Here in Germany we like big white asparagus, all white. A generous size and a less pronounced taste than the French one. Moreover, it will have a thinner waist and a less stringy flesh and its head will be slightly purplish.
But you may ask me, how can the same variety of asparagus produce two different results? Simply because of the German side cultivation method, this requires a lot more work. Once planted, the farmer will come and make stops so that the plant is always in the ground to keep its immaculate colour. The stop system is the same as that of potatoes. When they reach maturity, they come close to the top of the stop. And it is from there that nuances can be observed.
The Germans pass daily at dawn with an attentive eye to flush out an imperfection in the stop and pick up the asparagus. This requires a lot of rigour. This way it remains completely white. In France, we will take more time (which will not surprise anyone). The asparagus will eventually protrude from the stop and absorb sunlight (photosynthesis phenomenon) and the colouring will appear. This impregnation of light will also give it that more pronounced and characteristic taste.
And how does green asparagus grow? They simply grow outside the earth and absorb all the sun’s rays. They are softer but it is more difficult to obtain high yields.
Every year, at the time of the Spargelzeit, the asparagus season, a real frenzy seizes Germany. On the menu: asparagus consommé followed by the traditional dish: asparagus, ham, potatoes and hollandaise sauce. Appreciated for their high medicinal and diuretic quality since the Middle Ages, the consumption in Germany is 2.5kg of asparagus per year and per person against 500 grams for the French!