The meaty flesh and grassy flavor of asparagus spears make for bright, fresh springtime dishes.

Anna Williams

How to Choose

Size isn’t an indicator of quality or flavor; thick asparagus is just more mature than the thin variety. Instead, look for bright green or violet-tinged spears with firm (not limp) stems. Make sure the tips are closed and compact. When the bunch is squeezed, it should squeak. Avoid stalks that appear woody.

How to Store

Trim the bottoms and wrap the cut ends in a damp paper towel. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to three days. Or treat your spears like fresh flowers: Place the cut ends in a bowl or a vase filled with an inch of water and cover the tops with a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator.

5 Ways to Prepare Asparagus

  • Thyme-Roasted Asparagus and Potatoes
    Toss cut-up asparagus and quartered small new potatoes with olive oil and fresh thyme sprigs. Roast at 400º F until tender, 20 to 25 minutes
  • Asparagus and Tortellini Soup
    Cook fresh tortellini in chicken broth until tender, adding cut-up asparagus during the last few minutes. Top with shaved Parmesan and serve with crusty bread.
  • Crunchy Asparagus Salad With Feta
    Toss thinly sliced raw asparagus with olive oil and crumbled Feta.
  • Lemony Asparagus With Hard-Cooked Eggs
    Boil asparagus, then run under cold water to cool. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice; sprinkle with chopped hard-cooked eggs and chives.
  • Gingery Sautéed Shrimp and Asparagus
    Sauté cut-up asparagus in olive oil with peeled and deveined shrimp, sliced shallots, and grated fresh ginger. Toss with mint before serving.