White vs green asparagus are both popular side dishes that can be served with various meals. The two vegetables differ in color, taste, and cooking time. White asparagus is often considered more expensive than green asparagus because it has a shorter growing season, but the price difference varies by region. This article will explore the differences between white and green asparagus so that you can make an informed decision when choosing your next vegetable dish.
Difference between white and green asparagus
There are three significant differences between green and white asparagus. The first is the most obvious is color. The other differences are taste and growing methods.
- White asparagus is grown underground, while green asparagus is raised above the ground. Due to growing in low-light conditions, white asparagus is white. On the other hand, green asparagus is green because it is exposed to sunlight during growth and thus has chlorophyll.
- The artificial deprivation of light for white asparagus is achieved by covering the spears with a mound ofhummus or opaque plastic as it grows. This process is known as etiolation, and it prevents the formation of chlorophyll.
- The final difference between white and green asparagus has to do with taste. White asparagus tends to be sweeter than its counterpart due to being grown underground where available light is limited.
What does white asparagus taste like?
The white asparagus has a sweet taste to it. It is excellent for those who do not like the bitter taste of green asparagus and can be used in dishes that call for either white or green asparagus.
White asparagus is also tender when cooked correctly, leading some people to believe that it tastes better than green.
The sugar development in white asparagus is more concentrated, and it thus tends to lack the grassy taste inherent in green asparagus. If you’d rather have the hearty flavor of asparagus, stick with the green variants.
Cooking white asparagus vs. green asparagus
Fully grown white asparagus stems are thicker and have more fiber than the thinner green asparagus. This is the main differentiator as to what cooking method is preferred for each type.
How to cook white asparagus
As mentioned above, white asparagus is more rigid and thicker than green asparagus. You, therefore, need to peel at least two-thirds of the stems from the bottom.
Due to its tougher nature, white asparagus will stand longer cooking periods without compromising on the flavor. It is thus a good idea to steam, roast, or slow cook white asparagus. You could also use it in casseroles.
How to cook green asparagus
Green asparagus is thinner and thus more tender than white asparagus. Unless you opt for bigger stalks at the store, You’ll only need to trim off the ends of the spears before steaming them lightly.
Green asparagus needs a shorter cooking time due to its less developed flavor (it tastes grassy). You should therefore boil or steam green asparagus for the shortest time possible.
If you add the white asparagus to green cooked, it will still have a crispy texture and be full of flavor while offering a change in pace for your taste buds. It is thus a good idea to cook white asparagus separately before adding it to other dishes that call for white or green asparagus.
You can use green asparagus in many dishes, but not those that take longer to cook. Long cooking hours will not only break the delicate flavor down but also cause the spears to lose their crunch.
Also, depending on the thickness of the arrows, you can cook green asparagus in several ways. Thinner shoots can be stir-fried or added to cooking pasta or savory tarts. Thicker shoots can be grilled or roasted.
White asparagus color
White asparagus has white stems because it is grown underground, where the light does not reach. It thus lacks chlorophyll and remains white even after cooking.
Green asparagus is green because it grows above ground, where there is more sunlight. It has chlorophyll and thus turns white only when cooked for a long time.
White asparagus looks quite similar to the white ‘scallions’ part of green onions once peeled.
Green beans vs. asparagus
Both green beans and asparagus are a favorite food for many. But if you are keen on the nutrient intake, you may have wondered how these two foods stack up against each other. Here is how:
- Green beans beat white and green asparagus when it comes to potassium content. Green beans also have more vitamin C and B6 than the other two vegetables.
- Green beans also have more dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, and manganese than white and green asparagus.
- As far as vitamins A and E are concerned, white and green asparagus offer slightly higher amounts of these nutrients compared to green beans.
- Also, asparagus has more protein, thiamin, iron, and water content than green beans.
Green asparagus cooking time
Green asparagus cooks within five minutes of boiling. Another option is to steam it for three minutes.
Generally, the cooking time of tender green asparagus is five minutes for the standard thin and pencil-thick spears. Thicker shoots will take up to seven minutes, or even more. It depends on how long they take to be ready.
So, how can you tell your green asparagus is ready?
Pick up a spear with tongs and gently press it between your thumb and index finger. If the asparagus is ready, it should collapse slightly under the pressure.
It must also be tender enough to easily pierce through with a fork at its thickest part (about one-third down from the tip). By this time, the green asparagus will have turned deep green, while the ends will have started browning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does white asparagus come from?
White asparagus is simply the green asparagus that has been grown in such a way that the spears are not exposed to light. Thus, white asparagus comes from regions where green asparagus is grown but under special conditions for white asparagus.
Why is white asparagus white?
The white color of white asparagus is due to the lack of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives green vegetables their characteristic green color, so without it, white asparagus appears white or pale yellowish-white.
At this point, white vs green asparagus is no longer a mystery. With the excellent cooking tips and detailed information, white and green asparagus can be enjoyed in many different ways to bring out distinct flavors.