To make asparagus white, growers shelter the green variety from the sun in mounds of sand where they remain until they are ready for harvest. A lack of chlorophyll gives the white variant a milder taste than the common green variety. Despite differences in taste and appearance, white asparagus should be boiled for the same amount of time as green asparagus: eight to 30 minutes, depending on the size.
Classic White Asparagus Boil
White asparagus comes in a wider variety of sizes compared to its green counterpart, ranging from thin stalks to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Cooking times vary depending on the thicknesses of the stalks. Bundle like-sized spears together, tying them loosely with kitchen string. Add thicker asparagus bundles to the boiling water first and let them cook for a few minutes before adding thinner stalks so they finish cooking at the same time. Simmer for eight to 10 minutes for thinner stalks, 15 to 30 minutes for larger ones, cooking until tender but firm.
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- The Joy of Cooking; Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker
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