German word of the day: Spargelzeit

Nele Schröder
Nele Schröder - [email protected]
German word of the day: Spargelzeit
Freshly picked asparagus in Weiterstadt, Hesse on April 5th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Andreas Arnoldpicture alliance/dpa | Andreas Arnold

The start of April signifies that this treasured time in Germany is only weeks away.


Whenever you enter a German supermarket or farmer’s market in spring, you’ll see signs along these lines everywhere: FRISCHER NÜRNBERGER SPARGEL! (fresh Nuremberg asparagus!). Or Beelitzer if you're in or around Berlin.


These sometimes over-the-top advertisements mark the start of Spargelzeit, or asparagus season in Germany. It comes as little surprise that Germans are obsessed with asparagus, especially the thick white kind which is often dubbed "white gold". People have been eating cabbage and potatoes all winter and asparagus means that spring is here. Hence, when the season starts each year, you are guaranteed to find asparagus everywhere.

Some statistics to prove our case: When you google “Spargelzeit 2023”, you immediately find 675,000 results. A lot of them are about asparagus recipes or where you can buy it cheaply.

According to the latest figures from Information Centre for Agriculture, the total yearly consumption of asparagus was about 125,000 tons of the vegetable. That means a consumption of 1.5 kilograms per capita.

Beauty pageants for Spargel

When asparagus season begins, Germany loses its mind: There are even beauty competitions to find the next asparagus queen of the region, and you can basically find asparagus at every turn: In restaurants, salad bars even smoothies or sushi.

asparagus queen

The newly crowned 'asparagus queen' in Weiterstadt, Hesse on April 5th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Andreas Arnold

Most traditional German restaurants will sell white asparagus during the season. It is traditionally cooked, then drenched in either butter or Hollandaise sauce, and served with boiled potatoes and some slices of ham.

While white asparagus is still the most popular one in Germany, the green type is actually growing in popularity: In 2012, the consumption of green asparagus was about six percent of the total consumption. In 2017, there was an increase to about 11 percent, according to the Agrarmarkt Informationsgesellschaft (AMI). The hype mainly centres on white asparagus though, according to German newspaper Die Zeit.

So the next time you visit a farmer’s market and somebody shouts “KAUF MEINEN SPARGEL” (“Buy my asparagus”) in your ear, don’t feel attacked. Just remember: It will be over by the end of June, so consider eating as much asparagus as you can.

Here's how it's used

Bald beginnt die Spargelzeit!

Asparagus season starts soon.

Wie isst du gerne deinen Spargel?

How do you like to eat asparagus?

Spargelzeit finde ich immer eher stressig.

I think asparagus season is usually rather stressful.


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