Video: How to Grow, Harvest and Cook White Asparagus
In the Jordan garden, we focus on growing heirloom varieties and other fruits and vegetables that demand meticulous care, such as white asparagus. What makes white asparagus so high maintenance, you might ask? White asparagus’s lack of color comes from the process of etiolation, which is the deprivation of light. Dirt must be mounded around each emerging stalk by hand, depriving it of sunshine. The plant cannot produce chlorophyll without light, thus there is no green color to the stalk. White asparagus is typically milder in flavor and also more tender than its green counterpart.
My sous chef Manuel Reyes often takes on the morning duty of burying the white asparagus during its harvest season, usually late winter to early spring. We captured a quick video demonstrating the process of burying and harvesting white asparagus, as well as cooking tips for the antioxidant-rich stalks. Once in the kitchen, white asparagus should be peeled–the skin is fiberous, stringy and even woody at times. We also like to tie spears with string (both efficient and protective, as white asparagus is more brittle than green) before blanching.
Looking for a white asparagus recipe? Try my Hanger Steak and Asparagus Salad.