What Makes Purple Passion Asparagus Unique

If you thought asparagus was strictly green, get ready to have your mind blown. The sturdy spears come in a pearly white color and — even more striking — a rich plum hue. In fact, EatingWell reports that there are a few violet varieties, including the larger Pacific Blue or sweet Erasmus, but the Purple Passion remains the most prized possession, and here's why.

Just like their green relatives, mauve spears of asparagus also contain a compound called asparagusic acid, which is the culprit behind the funky-smelling urine. According to Southern Living, when the compound is metabolized into sulfur byproducts, it often produces a distinct aroma. That said, there are some differences between green, white, and periwinkle spears.

Unlike other shades of asparagus, Cook's Illustrated explains that purple versions get their intense, dark color from the antioxidant known as anthocyanins, which also provides the same pigment to purple cabbage, grapes, and blueberries. However, while uncooked Purple Passion asparagus boasts a vibrant color, something unique happens as the vegetable is cooked.

Colour may fade, but flavor intensifies

Purple Passion asparagus tends to be less herbaceous than green varieties. Instead, it has a much sweeter taste due to its higher sugar content, reports Finedining Lovers. This honeyed quality, coupled with an ultra-tender texture, makes the purple asparagus a great option for a fresh, shaved salad. Not only will the flavors of the raw veggie shine, but the Purple Passion spears will add the perfect pop of color.

But, should you choose to cook your asparagus, be prepared for a bit of color-changing magic! According to MasterClass, as Purple Passion spears are cooked, their color starts fading to a light green hue. However, this exposure to heat does something extraordinary for flavor — it unveils a subtle nuttiness in the vegetable. Bringing depth to a dish, the gently faded spears can make dishes more complex when added to quiche, pasta, stir-fry, or sauce. But, we think the veggie is best served on its own.