Sustainable Organic Gardening

White Asparagus – heavenly!

I’ve just recently returned from a wonderful trip to Spain. My partner and I decided that the main aim of the trip was to eat and drink our way around this wonderful country. We even deliberately lost weight in preparation for the holiday! Well, we achieved what we set out to do – tasting some of the fantastically fresh produce, including olive oils, cheeses and wines. The stand-out for me in terms of food, however, was the white asparagus. Large, plump and perfectly prepared – we had it grilled with soft boiled egg, steamed and served with a vinaigrette sauce, steamed and served with jamon (a dry-cured ham), a blue cheese sauce and crusty bread. Absolutely delicious!

I was always under the impression that white asparagus was a type of its own; however, it is the green asparagus just grown and harvested under different conditions – it’s been kept in the dark! A herbaceous perennial grown from seed or propagated by crowns, white asparagus is produced by hilling up extra soil above the crown so that the spear develops to a harvestable length without being exposed to sunlight. As soon as the spear emerges from the mound, they are harvested in the shadows of the night. In Australia, some growers use black structures constructed over the crop between June and July. At the end of the harvest season, the covers are removed to allow the crop to continue its life cycle and produce the normal asparagus fern. While asparagus is usually available from September to January, crowns are now available for planting. I’m not sure if I really want to go to the trouble that’s needed to grow white asparagus, green is far more straightforward, but to be honest, I think I just need to arrange to go back to Spain to get my fill!

White asparagus for sale in Spain

White asparagus for sale in Spain

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