Purple asparagus has a striking dark purple color and has a similar shape to green and white asparagus but it’s actually a different variety. While it is not very well known, it has a subtly distinct flavor, contains about 20% more sugar than other varieties, and it can be slightly less fibrous. The purple color will blanch when cooked unless the color is “locked in” by marinating briefly with lemon juice or vinegar. Crystal Valley offers purple asparagus during a limited season from Peru and the United States.
Choose purple asparagus that has firm, crisp stalks with tight, brightly-colored tips. Avoid wilted stalks.
Wrap purple asparagus in a damp cloth and place in a plastic bag and refrigerate.
To prepare, cut woody stems off. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in asparagus and once again bring the water to a boil, and cook uncovered to the desired doneness. Asparagus can also be cooked in a microwave oven. To avoid the change in color, you can marinate the asparagus for 2-3 minutes with lemon juice or vinegar before cooking.
Asparagus can be served cold on its own, dipped, or in a salad. You can also broil, bake, steam or dipping the asparagus in butter, cheese, or a hollandaise sauce.