We Made White Asparagus (Spargel) for the First Time in Germany
When springtime rolls around in Germany, you may notice a bizarre, large vegetable popping up in the supermarkets. We learned it is white asparagus, or Spargel. Spargel is SUPER popular here so we wanted to try making it at home for the first time, complete with our own home-made Hollandaise sauce! Does it live up to the hype?
Es ist Spargelzeit! (It is White Asparagus Time!)
It is asparagus time! For many Germans, the spring season officially begins with the white asparagus harvest. It is a BIG DEAL here! You’ll see restaurant menus with white asparagus soup and with potatoes and hollandaise sauce. Many make it at home and have for generations.
Coming from the USA, we’ve only seen and cooked with GREEN asparagus, so this is definitely different for us! In this video, I share why Germans love white asparagus so much and how it gets its white color. I also cook it with you (along with potatoes, ham, and a homemade Hollandaise sauce) in my kitchen for the first time. Did we like it? Watch the video to find out!
Here is the Spargel recipe that I used from Chefkoch.de.
Why is White Asparagus (Spargel) So Special in Germany?
White Asparagus (Spargel) is so popular in Germany that it has its own season named after it – Spargelzeit! It is a highly anticipated time of year in Germany that typically lasts from late April to the end of June. During this time, you will see asparagus dishes appearing on menus across the country, and farmers’ markets selling fresh asparagus in abundance. White asparagus is particularly popular in Germany, and is often referred to as the “royal vegetable”.
Spargelzeit is celebrated in Germany for several reasons. Firstly, it is seen as a sign of spring and the start of the growing season after the long winter months. Secondly, it is considered a delicacy and a mark of quality to be able to serve the freshest asparagus possible. Finally, asparagus has long been believed to have health benefits, such as being a diuretic and helping to reduce inflammation.
Spargel Festivals, Competitions and Events
Germans take their spargelzeit seriously, with festivals, competitions, and events held throughout the season. The traditional way of serving white asparagus is with potatoes, ham, and Hollandaise sauce, but there are countless variations to be found in restaurants and households across the country. Many Germans also enjoy visiting local asparagus farms to pick their own fresh asparagus, making spargelzeit a truly hands-on and communal experience.
What is the Difference between Green and White Asapargus?
Spargel, or white asparagus, is grown underground to keep it from producing chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what gives green asparagus its color. Farmers cover the white asparagus with soil as it grows, so the sunlight cannot reach it. This prevents the production of chlorophyll. This process is known as “blanching.” The result is a milder, more delicate flavor compared to green asparagus, and the white color is highly prized in Germany. It takes more effort to harvest than green asparagus as well.