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white asparagus?

Has anyone seen white asparagus on sale in the 617 area code? I am hankering after some, and don't care much for the green

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  1. i've seen them at Russos, but that's watertown. Call the Whole Foods nearest you and see if they have them.

    1. I see these at my local Stop & Shop all the time.

      1. Just saw bunches in the Allston Star about 90 minutes ago.

        1. Russo's has it almost year-round, they are from Peru, not the delicate ones from Europe. Right now they are $2.98/lb.

          2 Replies
          1. re: y2000k

            This is a very important distinction. Peruvian white asparagus can be treated like green asparagus (short cooking time, etc) but bears little similarity to the real thing. It is more of a color (or lack, thereof) novelty. If you're looking for the lusciousness of European white asparagus, don't expect to see it in many markets. I last saw it wholesale at more than $1 per stalk. Also, it was a crappy season this year.

            1. re: almansa

              While the Peruvian white asparagus doesn't taste like its European counterpart, it still has a distinctive mild flavor; very different from green asparagus. In Spring, i prefer the fresh green ones. However, in the fall/winter times, I prefer the white ones, and I make them at least 2x/month. They are quite wonderful with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette.

          2. Having lived and eaten in Germany during Spargel Zeit, I have to say that the white asparagus we get in the States sucks in comparison to the European spears, which are fat, succulent, and full of flavor. The stuff we get here isn't worth eating.

            5 Replies
            1. re: pikawicca

              I've never had the real stuff in Europe but I'd agree that even in its own right that Peruvian white asparagus is nasty. Tried it once - stringy and really bitter - never again. (Which makes sense - asparagus declines pretty quickly after harvest, and it must take a few weeks to ship it from Peru.)

              1. re: MichaelB

                Cook's Illustrated had something about white v. green asparagus in a recent (maybe most recent) issue. Basically compared Peruvian white to green. The white, if I recall correctly, is simply chlorophyll deprived green, and tastes the same or not quite as good as the green. Bottom line was that Peruvian white costs more money and you are not getting anything for your money except a different color.

                1. re: katzzz

                  *All* white asparagus is chlorophyll-deprived green asparagus, not just the Peruvian variety.

                2. re: MichaelB

                  Did you peel them? I always peel the white asparagus; and cook them in boiling water for 6 minutes. Never thought they were bitter at all. I even served it to my in-laws who are pickey-eaters and have never had (European or Peruvian) white asparagus, and they loved it.

                  1. re: MichaelB

                    Actually asparagus is incredibly robust.

                    It will hold in cold storage for literally weeks. It loses a little in quality, but nowhere near as much as you might think. We grew it all through my childhood and and I remember occasionally eating it maybe four weeks after it was picked. If yours goes bad soon after purchase, it was probably picked, ahem, some time ago...

                    Also, with airfreight the ~theoretical~ delay between picking and purchasing should be less than a week.

                    I never liked the white asparagus much either - it always had a strong, bitter, musty/earthy flavor that was nowhere near as appealing as the fresh 'grassy-ness' of green asparagus.

                3. Last year there were big fat white asparagus from France available at the Savenor's in Cambridge. By the time I got to them they were shriveled and not worth the $20+ price tag, but it might be worth calling to see whether/when they'll have them this year.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nwinkler

                    Some things do *not* travel well enough to be worth the effort. European white asparagus is, by almost all credible accounts, one of those things, and western hemisphere versions do not rank with it. If one wants the real deal, one must schedule travel to where it can be had locally in season.