Cultivation and varieties
Cultivation and varieties

All about Asparagus > culture and varieties

Liliaceae (lily) family
We should begin by pointing out that asparagus, a phenomenon of nature, whether robed in green, pearly white or tinged with purple, all comes from the same mother variety. It is only the way it is grown that creates the variations of colour, flavour and texture.

Green and white asparagus are usually grown in separate areas and by different producers. Unlike white asparagus whose principal requirement is a light soil type, green asparagus requires a certain number of particular climatic conditions, which greatly limits where it can be grown. The continental-Mediterranean climate proves ideal: winters cold enough to interrupt the asparagus's growth, and springs with cool nights and mild daytime temperatures which permit the asparagus to grow only during the day without developing the spear in order to extend the harvest period.

A wide fluctuation of temperature between day and night is also necessary during the harvest to develop the spear's intense coloration, which takes on a violet hue. Summers must be dry and hot and the fall without precipitation until October, when the growing stops, so that tips don't develop in September, which would limit the quantity and quality of the spears.

The edible part of asparagus is limited to the spear or shoot of the plant. At first, asparagus grows like a wild dishevelled grass which can easily reach one metre in height.

Green Asparagus
The most common variety. It grows in the open air and owes its colour to its exposure to the sun.

White Asparagus
While green asparagus is grown in the light, white asparagus stays white only if protected from the sun. It is more difficult to grow, because the earth has to be hilled up every day: the asparagus has to be constantly covered with soil so that it grows in darkness. It requires constant care, which accounts for its quality and price.

Purple Asparagus
This is white asparagus whose spears have been allowed to poke slightly through the soil.

Search within the site
Advanced search >
Register free to receive our official newsletter
Sign up
Subscribe to our free RSS feeds:
Get the daily and monthly recipe posts automatically added to your newsreader.
Sign up