Asparagus is one of the most popular vegetable varieties in Germany and is considered a delicacy in many countries of the world. In this country widespread is the white asparagus. There are also green asparagus and purple asparagus. Compared to its white and purple relatives, the green asparagus is characterized by a more intense savory taste. It is also a valuable and low-calorie source of vitamins and fiber. The green asparagus season usually lasts a good two months from mid-April to the end of June.
Green versus white
The asparagus varieties get their different color by the way of cultivation. For example, the green asparagus grows in the sun. The sunrays produce the plant pigment chlorophyll, which turns the rods green. In contrast, white asparagus grows underground, which prevents it from receiving direct sunlight and remains white.
Green asparagus differs from white asparagus not only in color. The rods of the green asparagus are thinner and have a finer skin, which is mostly woody only in the lower third. Before cooking, the woody parts can be peeled, but this is sometimes not necessary for green asparagus. How woody the skin is, you can tell by the color: If the lower part is much brighter, it should be removed.
Green asparagus is not only delicious, it is also particularly good for a figure-conscious diet. With a fat content of 0.1 grams per 100 grams and a water content of 93%, the green asparagus comes to only 18 kcal. It is also rich in fiber, which naturally stimulates digestion. The green asparagus has a diuretic effect and stimulates kidney function.
By the way: Not only the color is affected by the sunlight. Thanks to the sunlight, the green asparagus is richer in vitamin C and beta-carotene compared to the white variety. In addition, it contains vitamin K, vitamin E and biotin. Green asparagus is also rich in magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. These minerals vitalize the cells and help with cell metabolism.
Due to its diuretic effect, asparagus is not well suited for people with renal insufficiency. In addition, there may be an aggravation of symptoms in gouty patients. Therefore, gout patients should check the asparagus intake with a doctor in advance.
The very own urine smell, which can occur after the consumption of asparagus, is by the way nothing unusual. Through the urine sulfur-containing degradation products of the green asparagus are excreted, which in turn cause the unpleasant odor.
Tips for storage and preparation
Green asparagus lasts only two to three days after harvesting. It is therefore advisable to buy directly from the producer. At home, asparagus should be wrapped in a damp kitchen towel and kept in the refrigerator. Green asparagus can also be kept in the water, with only the lower ends of the rods placed in one to two centimeters of water and then stored in the refrigerator.
Incidentally, green asparagus is easy to freeze. For this, the rods are peeled and washed. After drying with a kitchen towel, they can be stowed in plastic bags in the freezer. When thawing the green asparagus loses its taste and should therefore be cooked while still frozen.
Fresh or frozen, green asparagus can be prepared in many ways, depending on your taste. Cooked green asparagus is often eaten with hollandaise sauce and boiled potatoes. Depending on the thickness of the bars, the green asparagus cooking time is between five and eight minutes. In addition to half a teaspoon of salt, you can also add a pinch of sugar into the water, so any bitter substances are mitigated.
Anyone who wants to spoil themselves with an asparagus accompaniment to fish or meat, can prepare the green asparagus in the pan. The bars are cut into coarse pieces and seared in hot oil for four minutes. Add garlic, salt and pepper and simmer for a few minutes over low heat.
How do I recognize fresh green asparagus?
The taste of green asparagus depends on its freshness. The following tips will help you with shopping:
- Fresh green asparagus is characterized by solid tips that can be easily opened. However, they should have no discoloration.
- If green asparagus was recently harvested, pressing the cut ends releases a pleasant-tasting liquid.
- You can also rub the bars together: fresh green asparagus gives a squeaking noise.