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Differences Between White, Green (& Purple) Asparagus

 Is there any flavor difference between white asparagus and green asparagus?

 Yes. White asparagus, as you know, is grown covered in mounds of sandy soil so that it never sees the light of day until the moment it is unmercifully hewn down. Green asparagus grows freely in flat beds, and, exposed to the sunlight, develops the chlorophyll that turns it green.

There are also varieties that are naturally purple or pink, and these, too, may be kept white if they are deprived of sunlight. In some cases, just the tips are allowed to color, and occasionally you can find white asparagus in the store with green or purple tips.

Lacking chlorophyll, white asparagus has a milder asparagus taste than the heartier green version. The purple variety, colored by a pigment called anthocyanin, has a more bitter taste than either white or green. One of the super-tasters on our staff, though, swears that any white stalk she’s ever had was bitter, and has a clear preference for green asparagus.

As with almost any food (except Twinkies), there are variations in taste depending on where the food was grown or produced, the climate, soil conditions, etc. You might be able to find as much taste variation between two spears of green asparagus grown in different soils as between a white and green spear grown in similar conditions.

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