Tuesday, December 23, 2014

SPARGELZEIT means Time to Savour the White Asparagus in Germany

Spargetzeit means season of asparagus (Asparagus season), particularly the white asparagus in Germany. For the Germans and many residents of Germany, spring time is Spargelzeit which is the time to savour and enjoy the seasonal white asparagus which starts from  April and ending June 24 of each year.

White Asparagus called Royal Vegetable is so loved in Germany such that it was given a name  "Königsgemüse (King's Vegetable)."

It is are also referred to as "Frühlingswonne (Springtime Delight)," and "Zartes Elfenbein (Soft Ivory)".

I was  able to taste the white asparagus which the Germans are so proud of, we were invited by to have lunch so I can experience  the season of  the white asparagus  which they really, really love to savor when it is in season.

Here are the pictures that I made for that special day where I tasted for the first time the "Royal Vegetable" in Germany in 2007 Spargelzeit.

To prepare the asparagus, they remove the outer skin by a special peeler, then boil them in a special pot  use especially for boiling/cooking asparagus, a tall and slender pot as tall as the white asparagus, indeed.

The white asparagus is traditionally served and eaten with cooked ham served on the side

Melted butter is used for Salzkartoffel and the Hollandaise sauce which is spread all over the cooked asparagus when served

The butter is melted right on the table with a special burner

Kochschinken (cooked ham, often Serrano ham) as an accompaniment for white asparagus

Trying to help set up the table, I was so excited to taste the Royal Vegetable" which was once only served for the Royals

The two great oldies were really very excited to let me taste the white asparagus. Like all Germans are,  they are really very proud of this particular vegetable which is only available fresh in Spring for only 3 months (April until June 24)

The asparagus served with the ham (usually Serrano ham), is not yet complete as the boiled potatoes (Salzkartoffeln)  and the Hollandaise sauce is not yet ready

Melted butter and Hollandaise sauce and the boiled asparagus being served by my mother-in-law

Asparagus is known as the “royal vegetable” in Germany, a nickname gained as it was only available to the nobility during early times. Germany's "asparagus" was cultivated in the 16th century and it was by the mid 19th century, that this so called "Royal vegetable" became  popular for all the levels of German society. Since then, "Spargelzeit"  is a big event all over Germany.

Salzkartoffeln is the German word which means boiled potatoes which are peeled before boiling. Last 2 photos shows Heinz serving them. Shown also is a sauce bowl with Hollandaise sauce and melting butter on a burner

The complete set of Spargel (asparagus) meal for my first Spargelzeit in 2007 in Germany - boiled potatoes (Salzkartoffeln) and cooked asparagus with the Hollandaise sauce ready for me to devour and enjoy.

Heinz made perfect boiled whiteAsparagus. He was a happy cook. It was one of his passions when he was still alive

Below are the pictures of how Heinz, the life partner of my mother-in.law prepared the white asparagus which we all savored until the last bite.

Cleaning the asparagus by removing the lower end which is usually hard

In the 2 photos of above, Heinz is arranging the asparagus in a special Asparagus pot  especially for cooking asparagus. The pot is almost as tall as the asparagus.

Peeling or removing the woody outer skin of the asparagus before boiling them in water. White asparagus needs to be peeled and is often best cooked in liquid for 10- 20 minutes, depending on thickness, until tender. It must never be soggy. 

Germans only talk about white Asparagus during Spargelzeit, although green Asparagus are also available in Germany. This "Royal Vegetable" is white because it is  grown under thick cover, with the earth banked up around it, hence there is lack of sunlight that prevents photosynthesis. 

I have so many stories to say about my experiences with white Asparagus and Spargelzeit in Germany, for now, I just want that you enjoy my pictures and hopefully be able to savor the taste of the "Royal Vegetable" during one of your travels to Germany. 

No comments:

Post a Comment