Everything You Need to Know About German White Asparagus Season
German White Asparagus Season, and the mania that surrounds it, can be a bit confusing for anyone who grew up in America. It’s a vegetable… who gets excited about vegetables? I can still remember the first time I was taken to a specialty restaurant during German White Asparagus season. There was concern, because the Season was ending in just a few days. Would the Asparagus still be good? Would it be woody? Weren’t we cutting it a little close? All I could think was “What’s the big deal? It’s just asparagus…” And then the plate was put in front of me. White asparagus, cooked to perfection (not too soft… just enough bite), swimming in a pool of melted butter. Next to it, a serving of Salz-Kartoffeln (boiled potatoes) and Westfalischen Schinken (Westphalian Ham).
All of this lovely food, simple as it was, tasted AMAZING. And I was HOOKED!
Let me explain a bit about White Asparagus. And I also have a recommendation for where you can enjoy this “King of Vegetables”
May 5th is the Tag des Deutschen Spargels! (Day of German Asparagus)
German White Asparagus Season
“Kirschen Rot, Spargel Tot”
(when the cherries are red, asparagus is dead)
-an old Farmer’s Expression
White Asparagus season is very short. It begins in April and ends with a BANG on June 24th (St John’s Day). The vegetable itself has been cultivated since the ancient times in Egypt, Greece and Rome. Asparagus gained popularity in Germany during the 15th century where it was planted near Stuttgart in Baden-Wurttemberg for the courts. And if it’s good enough for royalty… then everyone wants it.
Since Asparagus is actually high in nutrients and low in calories, it’s quite a healthy vegetable to add to your diet (of course, the calories from the butter and hollandaise that you pour over your asparagus don’t really count…)
How Does White Asparagus Stay White?
White and Green Asparagus are basically the same vegetable, with identical nutritional value, and some say the same flavor (although saying things like that HAS been known to provoke fist fights). White Asparagus is grown under mulch and dark plastic, so it’s never exposed to light. No light, no photosynthesis. (There’s even a fancy word for it…etoliation). Chefs and white asparagus devotees claim that the lack of green gives the asparagus a more delicate flavor. And I think I would agree.
See how they grow Asparagus in Germany
Cooking White Asparagus
White asparagus tends to be thicker, and has a tougher slightly bitter skin. Before cooking, peel the bottom 2/3 of each stalk to get rid of it (you can use the peels to make stock…). Generally white asparagus is boiled in salted water. I’ve heard you can grill it, but that’s something I haven’t tried yet.
Celebrate German White Asparagus Season at Spargelhof Austerschulte in Lüdinghausen!
A few years ago, my uncle’s family turned the family farm in Lüdinghausen into an Asparagus Hof! My parents were able to visit during the season… and reported back that a meal at Spargelhof Austerschulte was well worth the trip.
The buffet has everything you could want for that perfect White Asparagus meal. Potatoes, Schinken, Schnitzel, Salads, Sauces… and of course, LOTS and LOTS of Asparagus that is grown there on the farm.
Naturally there is a bar…
Eat inside the tent, or outside at one of the many white tablecloth covered tables.
And, if there is still room, you can follow up that delicious food with dessert…
See the website, and make plans to visit HERE–> Spargelhof Austerschulte
Can’t Make it to Lüdinghausen for German White Asparagus Season? Here are some Recipe Books…
Oh du schöne Spargelzeit: 44 kreative Spargel Rezepte fernab von Schinken und Sauce Hollandaise (German Edition)SPARGEL Rezepte (German Edition)
Or You can Buy Spargel Soup
No… it’s not the same as soup made from scratch… but as a quick accompaniment to a midday sandwich, or as a Vorspeise ….it works.
Knorr Asparagus SoupGermanShop24Maggi Spargel SuppeGermanShop24Asparagus SoupGermanShop24
I’ve been in the US for 10 Years and all I find is green Spargel. I love white Spargel so much.
I do too… usually when I find white it’s old…
I was fortunate to be visiting family in Southern Germany during asparagus season. I saw carts along the road selling it in bunches. Every meal that we ate at a restaurant, I would order the white asparagus and whatever came with it. My cousin looked at me strangely and said that I could order something different. I was in heaven eating that wonderful asparagus! Apparently both of our fathers had the same love of the white asparagus!
Isn’t it crazy! And delicious
And then comes Pfifferlinge season…
Only find white asparagus from Peru. Old and very thin. Very little flavor
I find that in California too… not so yummy
I have hunted for years to find white asparagus for my German Mother as she LOVES it. When I did find it; the cost was $19.00 per pound and I had to buy a minimum of 10 pounds. Needles to say she got the bottled white Spargel again. She was happy that I had even tried to find it for her.
YIKES! I’ve only found it very occasionally, and it just isn’t like in Germany. Maybe it’s old?
Some things are just better to eat there.