Commonly Grown Asparagus Varieties
Asparagus varieties can be classified into three categories:
- Green Apsaragus
- White Asparagus
- Purple Asparagus
Green Aparagus is probably the most common asparagus category in the United States. The spears range from very thin to very thick. A common green variety is the Jersey King, which has medium diameter spears that are 7-8 inches long. Another variety is the Jersey Knight, which boasts long, thin spears reaching 8-10 inches. The Jersey Giant variety features shorter spears that are very thick in diameter.
White Asparagus is the asparagus category most preferred in Europe. The spears are deprived of light by keeping dirt mounded around the plant. Without light, the plants cannot produce chlorophyll, and therefore remain white in color. Any variety of asparagus will produce white spears, as long as it is not exposed to light.
Purple Asparagus is the category that is most commonly found in England and Italy. Purple asparagus produces thick, purple spears that are generally sweeter and more tender than varieties of green asparagus. However, the plants produce less numbers of spears. Purple Passion is the most common variety. Purple asparagus spears usually lose their color when cooked for very long. Some people prefer to eat purple asparagus raw or in salads so that it retains its unique color.
Some people grow several different varieties of asparagus, either intentionally, or because they've added different crowns to their asparagus patch over the years. Either way, different varieties can be used to please the eye and the palate.
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