Everything You Need to Know About Asparagus
We're sharing our best advice on buying, storing, and cooking the spring vegetable.
The main ingredient in a number of classic dishes, asparagus is a beloved vegetable for a number of reasons. From Asparagus Casserole to Grilled Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza, this springtime staple bursts with flavor in every bite. And the produce is packed with enough vitamins and nutrients to make it a mainstay on your dinner table. Here, we break down what you need to know to create your own delicious Grilled Asparagus and more—starting with cooking techniques, the best time to buy, and other ways to incorporate the seasonal staple into your family's meals.
Nothing says spring like fresh vegetables to harvest. The first bunches of asparagus, are most delicious during this season. Besides an irresistibly sweet and grassy flavor, asparagus boasts an impressive nutrient list: fiber, potassium, and antioxidants such as vitamins A and C are packed into the thick stalks.
Buying and Storing Until Use
Look for glossy spears with ridges (technically, they are leaves) that lie flat against the stalk. The tips should be tight, firm, and smell fresh; the woody ends should look moist and just-cut. Whether you prefer your asparagus thin and delicate or plump and thick, be sure to buy a bunch of spears that are all roughly the same size to ensure even cooking. Store them standing upright in an inch of water in a glass or jar for up to three days to keep them fresh.
An important and often overlooked step, be sure you rinse the asparagus to remove any grit before cooking. Next, prep them by trimming and snapping off the tough end of one stalk—it will naturally break where the tender part begins. There's no need to peel asparagus unless the skin is especially thick. If you like, you can even use the trimmed bits in a vegetable stock.
Fresh Recipe Ideas
It won't be hard to find ways to add asparagus to your meals. The produce is perfect in dishes like Beef-and-Asparagus Curry—you just have to sauté the delicious vegetable until tender and then mix with the other ingredients to make the spicy dish. Better yet, if you want a side dish bursting with flavor, try out Steamed Asparagus with Brown Butter and Hazelnuts, Sautéed Asparagus with Bacon, or Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Dill. All you have to do is steam, sauté, and roast them until tender, then top with whatever sweet and savory flavors you choose. And for a recipe that looks fancy but is actually quite easy, try our Fettuccine with Asparagus Ribbons—all you need is a vegetable peeler to get started and some hard cheese to finish it off.