asparagus

What to Look for When Buying Asparagus

  • Choose firm, bright green stalks with tightly closed tips and that are plump in size. If the color is fading or they are limp, that is a sign of being old. Also, check the stems at the bottom to make sure they look freshly cut, not shriveled up or dried out.

How To Store Asparagus for Longer Shelf Life

  • Fresh Asparagus will stay fresh for three to four days in the refrigerator. Do not wash your asparagus before you cook it.  You want to keep it in a cool and damp location. One way to store it is to place the unwashed stems/bottoms upright in a container in a few inches of water. Then place a plastic bag over them and loosely cover them. Let them sit like that in a refrigerator until you eat them.
  • Another option is to wrap the unwashed ends/bottoms in moist paper towels, place the bundle into a plastic bag, and place it in the refrigerator.

How to Prep Your Asparagus

  • To trim the stems/ tough ends, pick up one spear and hold it from each end. Then gently bend it with your hands, and where it snaps or naturally breaks, is where to cut off all the other stems.
  • Wash your asparagus only before cooking it by submerging it in warm water to remove any sand or grit.
  • If you purchase thick asparagus, you may need to peel them if the skin is tough. To do so, use a vegetable peeler to peel until you get to the more tender stalk underneath. Do not peel the tips.

How to Cook Your Asparagus

  • Boiling –  In a large pot, boil them in salted water for 5-8 minutes until they are tender crisp.  Salt is optional for added flavor
  • Steaming –  Either keep the asparagus long or cut diagonally into 2-3 inch pieces. Place them in a large pot with a steamer basket, adding water up to the steamer basket.  Steam them for 2-8 minutes or until tender crisp.
  • Sauté –  Cut each stalk diagonally into 2-3 inch pieces. Then place them in a skillet over medium to medium high heat with extra virgin olive oil.  Sauté for about 3-5 minutes stirring constantly.
  • Roasting – After washing them, pat dry and lay them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or on a cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle them with a seasoning of your choice. Using your hands, make sure to evenly distribute oil and  seasoning all over each one.  Then, place in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 5-8 minutes. Cook until tender crisp.
  • Grilling – After washing them, pat them dry. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle them with a seasoning of your choice. Using your hands, make sure to evenly distribute oil and  seasoning all over each one. Then, place in a grill basket or lay perpendicular in a single layer on your grill so they do not fall through the cracks. Turn every few minutes, making sure you evenly cook each stalk.  Grill them until slightly brown in color and still crisp.
  • Microwaving-  After washing them, place them in a microwave -safe dish, adding about 1/4 cup of water to the dish. Then, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, stopping and stirring every few minutes.

Photo Courtesy: goosegrease