If you newly moved to Germany you might be interested in learning German language but also in learning German culture, use and traditions.
This post is on German culture and tradition. To be more precise food tradition.
In Germany there is one additional season, it is “Spargelzeit” the season of the asparagus. Whereas, in Munich there even one more, Oktoberfestzeit, the season of the Oktoberfest.
They are like season, they start and stop almost at the same day every year.
In this post we focus on the Spargelzeit.
First of all, Germans prefer by far the white asparagus. White and green asparagus are substantially the same vegetables, but the plants are grown under different conditions. In order to achieve the pure white demanded by German consumers, the plants are deprived of light. This way, the production of chlorophyll is inhibited and the Spargel don’t turn green.
It’s almost and obsession, you will see asparugus at the entrance of any supermarket, queue of people waiting before the machines for peeling asparagus (for sure a German invention), in the canteen of your company they’ll have at least twice a week.
There will be wooden stands in many road selling only white asparagus, ads on any restaurant’s door publicizing their new asparagus receipt, typically asparagus wrapped in bacon, or in hollandaise sauce,
If it is your first year in Germany I apologize for haven’t warned you in advance, before the Spargelzeit started, you would have been prepared for the shock of seeing so many asparagus!
Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do against, so better join the party and buy your first Spargeltopf, a special elongated pan adapt for the cooking of the white gold.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]According to the numbers released by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Germans consumed 127,000 tonnes of asparagus in 2012, four percent more than the year before.[/su_pullquote]
I don’t know how much Germans spent for their asparagus orgy but for sure it’s a lot, what is against German use. In fact, German are usually very parsimonious with buying vegetables, they prefer cheap ones from Aldi and Lidl, freshness and quality are very relative concepts. But probably they save money for the Spargelzeit where they give out big bucks for their beloved spears, especially if they are a local production.
It is also a topic of discussion, so you better prepare some tips like where to find the best asparagus, how to recognize the freshest, and some particular recipes you got from your grandmother (look at here Asparagus recipes if your grandmother used to cook pork’s ears instead of this decadent delicacy).
Finally, all good things come to an end (luckily) and suddenly the season end on the 24th of June at 20pm when the last market closes its shutter.
There is also an old Franconian saying regarding the mournful event: Kirsche rot, Spargel tot or “When the cherry’s red, the asparagus is dead.”
*Image courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net