This spring’s unusually warm and dry month of February has led to an early start of the asparagus season.
In 2019, the royal vegetable ranks among the culinary highlights of the year. It is healthy, low-cal, tasty and due to its limited availability period always something special.
Why does asparagus come in different colours?
The colour of asparagus has nothing to do with its type. It´s rather the harvest time that influences the kind of asparagus landing on one’s plate. In its most original form, the vegetable is green. The sprout of this asparagus plant grows almost completely above the soil and gets “tanned” by sunlight.
The sprout is cut when it has grown about 20-25cm above the soil. The white asparagus on the other hand is cut before it gets exposed to sunlight. In order to ensure sufficient length, the white asparagus plant is covered underneath additional earthworks. Violet asparagus is a hybrid. Its sprouts have just slightly broken through the soil and were therefore exposed to just a little bit of sunlight.
Why does the asparagus harvest end on June 24th?
Each season, a single asparagus plant can grow up to seven sprouts towards sunlight. The bitter seventh sprout –the so-called St. John’s sprout – is not yielded, thus giving the asparagus plant enough time to regenerate before the winter. The full-grown sprout with its delicate leaves forms the so-called asparagus fern. If the asparagus season starts particularly early, the plants could already be worn out before June 24th. On the other hand, some asparagus spears are being sold after St. John’s day. Most of them are from old plants which were cut for the last time.
Where to get the finest asparagus in Berlin?
The DUKE restaurant celebrates this year’s asparagus season with a dedicated menu. The selection ranges from white asparagus gazpacho to the classic Beelitzer asparagus spears with Hollandaise sauce and Serrano ham, salmon or beef fillet.