1kg : 16 euro
2kg : 31 euro
3kg : 46 euro

Violet Asparagus

HIS OLD ORIGINS

The Asparagus, a perennial herbaceous plant, comes from very far away. Maybe it comes from the ancient Mesopotamia, the land between the tow rivers Tigris and Euphrates, than from the fertile Nile Valley and later it spread all around the Mediterranean basin. Its name comes from the Greek Age; they called it “Asparagoins” using a Persian name(the root of the name is “Cperegh” that in this language means “point” or “tooth”) or from the Sanskrit, an old Indian language of an Indo-European stock, in which we can find a similar word that expresses the concept of “to inflate” and “to sprout”.The Asparagus was well now and cultivated from the ancient Egyptian and really appreciated by the Romans. Plinio and with him Marziale were very fond of it and the thought that the best were cultivated in the vegetables gardens of the town of Ravenna.When the Roman Empire fall down the Asparagus seemed to be disappearing from Italy; during the Middle Age period it was cultivated only in the Monasteries with many other herbs under the Monks’ attentions. At the and of the Middle Age period there is a slow but progressive rediscovery of the Asparagus. We can find it between the XIV and the XV century in the big books containing kitchen recipes written by the Anonymous Toscano, in the kitchen treatise written by Bartolomeo Platina and finally in the famous recipe book of Maestro Martino da Como, who wrote the book “Libro de Arte Coquinaria” but listening to the French ideas the Asparagus seems not to be cultived anymore in Europe after the fall of Bome and that the cultivations will re-flower again during the kingdom of Luis XIV, the Roi Soleil, who was really fond of them.Many years later in Italy Pellegrino Artusi(1820-1911) talks again about the Asparagus in his book “La scienza e l’arte di mangiar bene”(Science and art of good eating). Here is what he writes in the 13th edition of the book published in 1909 with 709 recipes about the Asparagus: “to give the Asparaguses a nicer aspect before cooking them, scrape the white part with a knife and level the extremity of the stalk; that bind them with a string in not too big bunches and dip them in will start bowing their head.

THE CHARACTERISTICS

The Asparagus officinalis is the edible species belonging to the Liliaceae family. The evergreen plant is commonly called “Asparagara”. The edible part is the “turion” that is the fleshy bud covered with scales who are the real leaves, while the parts who seem to be the leaves are instead, the “cladofilli” modified branches who have the configuration of leaves.
The turion have an agreeable and sweetish taste and if they are left to their natural development they have erect and rigid stalks, that’s why tha name “Asparago” derives from the Greek word Sparago that precisely means “being turgid”.
It can reach the height of one metre and a half but only the buds of the stalks can be eaten.
On the market we can buy asparagus of three different types: white, green and violet. The diversity derive from different methods and times of harvesting but it corresponds also to precise qualities. The taste changes depending on the color.
The white ones, so-called of Artenteuil, maintain the original color because they are harvested before that point will come outside the land. If the head af Asparagus comes into direct contact with the air it gets a color that goes from rose to blue-violet.
If the period of time in which the Asparagus grows out of the land will lengthen, then the point becomes green.

THE VIOLET OF ALBENGA

Particularly esteemed is the Violet Asparagus of Albenga less productive that the others but unique in the World; the Turions are bigger and have a characteristic violet deep color that gradually shades off near the base but it’s above all on the table that this variety brings exclusive accomplishments. It’s soft and buttery (it hasn’t got the fibrousness of his colleagues) delicate and it tendentially tastes sweeter and it’s got a less strong smell. Thanks to his organoleptic qualities the Violet of Albenga, in the kitchen, is particularty adapt to accompain very delicate dishes such as fishes and white meat or it is used to prepare really refined sauces.
The best results are anyway abtained by cooking (only a little bit) the Asparagueses quite fresh (with well united and strong points) only a few hours after the harvesting. But pay attention all these qualities depend exclusively on the benevolent micro-climate and on the particular sandy soil of the plain of Albenga: the place that the Violet Asparagus likes best. As a matter of facts, many foreingner farmers have tried to cultivate it in the Americas, in Australia and in New Zealand, but until now they had no results. Unfortunately, the low profit of the Violet of Albenga, the late period of ripening, the only manual cultivacion thecnique and the impossibility of alternative the Asparagus with other cultivation have caused a drastic reduction of the cultivated soil.Today only four hectares (1 hectare=2,471 acres) and the Violet of Albenga is only produced for a local consumption. According to the Varpam datas 1975 the Violet of Albenga represented the 1,5 per cent of the Italian production ( 427.00 quntals) while only 13 years later it descended to 1,1 per cent (the total production was of 207.00 quintals).
The Asparaguses are rich in vitamin A,B and C so they’re important for example for the view, for the good working of the digestive apparatus, for the nervous system; besides they contain asparagines, a substance who has a diuretic effect. They are harvested from the end of March to the whole month of May.

TETRAPLOIDE

One of the genetic characteristics that makes the differences between the Violet Asparagus of Albenga and all the other is that it is “Tetraploide” that is it has fourty chromosomes while all the others have only twenty. That’s why it can’t cross with the others varieties. Not wrongfully someone consider it not a variety but a separate species.