The Different Colors of Asparagus and How They Affect Flavor
According to my mom, my love of asparagus goes back to as far as when I first had enough teeth to eat it. The story goes there was a field with asparagus next to the church where we went when I was a toddler and apparently, I’d lean over the asparagus and nibble it right down and then a huge grin would break out across my face and I'd move on to the next stalk, just nibbling my way down.
Asparagus is something I love to enjoy all through the year, but especially in the spring because while you can generally find it year-round, the growing season is mostly from March until June and that’s when you’ll typically be able to get it at the best price.
If you’ve never bought asparagus and aren’t sure what the difference is between green, white, and purple, here’s some help:
White asparagus is just green asparagus that’s been grown without light and it has less nutritional value than green or purple colored asparagus. It's a tad more mild and it's not often that you'll find fresh white asparagus hanging out in your local grocery store's produce section. Typically, this type of asparagus will be found in a jar or a can.
Green asparagus has been grown in sunlight and is the most common type found in stores. It also has the strongest flavor, but that's not a bad thing. It's not like a super strong piece of lemon that makes your mouth picker. It's just that green asparagus is a bit more flavorful than the other colors.
Purple asparagus has a bit of a fruity flavor to it and tastes delicious raw. It also has more sugar than green or white asparagus and also has a lower amount of fiber. You could use a peeler to shave a raw purple asparagus into a salad to give it a pop of color. If you cook the purple asparagus for a good length of time, it’ll eventually turn green which was a bummer for me the first time I cooked it. I thought that after steaming my purple asparagus that I'd put it on my niece's plate and she'd be excited to see something purple on her plate, but when I took it out of the steamer, it had already turned green.
By no means am I an asparagus expert. I'm just a person who happens to think it's one of the most delicious veggies on the planet and have learned a lot about it through the years. Although green asparagus is my favorite, I definitely recommend you try each color so that you can decide for yourself which you like best!
I really like to coat my asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap bunches in bacon before grilling them, but I also like to roast my asparagus. This is a great way to cook it in big amounts because you don’t have to keep an eye on it and you can pop several baking sheets into the oven at the same time.
So, if you find yourself with a bunch of fresh asparagus and aren’t sure what to do with it, try roasting it like I do!
2 pounds fresh asparagus
Ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. While the oven is heating, break off the tough ends of the asparagus. You can do this by either cutting your asparagus or snapping them- the choice is really up to you. If you’re not sure which method is for you, take a peek at this-
After you’ve broken off the tough ends, place the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over them, tossing them with your hands afterward to make sure they’re nice and coated. Spread the asparagus on the baking sheet so that they lay in a nice, single layer and sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Roast the asparagus for 25 minutes or until they’re tender, but still a little crisp.