Italy ranks eighth among world producers of asparagus and the third in Europe, but only in Italy there is a production so varied and qualitative: today we have three varieties of asparagus that have obtained the IGP (Geographical Indication protected): the Cimadolmo white Asparagus PGI from 2002, which is cultivated in common 9 of the province of Treviso; Asparagus of Altedo Green, PGI from 2003, cultivated in common 30 26 the province of Bologna and the province of Ferrara; Asparagus from Badoere PGI from 2010, 3 common cultivated in the province of Padua, in the province of Treviso and 12 1 in the province of Venice. Recognition of Protected Designation of Origin is of 'White Asparagus of Bassano, PDO from 2007 11 which is cultivated in common in the province of Vicenza. It 'just remember, however, some very particular varieties that do not have PDO or PGI but are placed in the Ark of Taste of Slow Food: the Violet Asparagus of Albenga, the Pink Asparagus of Mezzago, the Cilavegna Asparagus, Asparagus Montine and Zambana white asparagus.
The color differences fundamentally depend on the light that the plant receives and then dramatically changes the types of cultivation: l 'green asparagus develops the "shoot" above the ground and in the presence of light, and then activating the chlorophyll process, while the white asparagus They are cultivated by developing the shoot underground, rincalzando the rows, and in the absence of light, covering with towels. A little 'as the cardoon, the color is not the only factor influenced: change the nuances of flavor and especially the fibrous product, where'white asparagus It is almost not at all fibrous, while the taste is more delicate.
From a botanical point of view simplified, in 'asparagus What we eat is the shoot or sprout, in fact the stem of the plant that has a root (rhizome, foot) where you can catch up these drums. If not received the shoot develops then twigs, leaves and fruits similar to small red berries containing seeds.
The origin of 'asparagus are lost in time, probably originating in ancient Mesopotamia, was also known by the Egyptians. The name seems to derive from the term "sperega" in archaic Persian meaning "sprout", the Greeks, who regarded him as a powerful aphrodisiac called him "asparagos" that is full of sap. Arrived in Europe in the Gallo-Roman era, and there are so many historical quotes over the centuries, although the evidence of the cultivation date back to the fifteenth century.
From a nutritional point of view the asparagus making contributions to very low calorie, but it is rich in fiber; low in fat and protein, but it brings many important minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. It 'an excellent antioxidant, is a source of folic acid and vitamins A and C. B6 Increase the fluidity of the blood and is an excellent diuretic.
How to buy asparagus.
The varieties PDO and PGI are marketed packed in bunches of 0,5 1,5 to KG in which asparagus, Usually uniform, are tied with clamps (in the case of 'Bassano white asparagus it is a sprig of willow) that bear the DOP or IGP and the references of the consortiums. Rarely found in supermarkets, and, given the perishability fast enough (for most white varieties for the green ones), I suggest you buy them on the spot by the farmers or the festivals.
Since I grew up in a production area that I address directly from the manufacturer usually has various types of products: First Choice, Second Choice, Asparagine (thin asparagus), Gobbi (which develop unevenly, resulting in large and curved) with varying prices . In this way it is possible to optimize the value for money: to make a sauce for pasta or thin asparagine humpbacks are perfect and cost almost half as compared to asparagus grade, while the traditional preparations is important to have a homogeneous product that facilitates cooking.