Baked, roasted, puréed, steamed, no matter how you prepare asparagus, one thing is certain: This amazingly versatile veggie signals the start of warmer weather. Once classified as a member of the lily family, asparagus is now classified as an Asparagaceae. With only 20 calories per serving (roughly 5 spears), packed with vitamins and minerals, 2 grams of protein and minimal fat, asparagus is a nutrient-dense food that dates back to the first century. It takes three years from seed to harvest, but each plant will continue to produce for 15 years or more. White asparagus spears, which are grown under a blanket of soil and most popular in Europe, must be hand-picked and immediately stored in a dark box to keep them white. Learn how to cook asparagus to add a pop of color and flavor to your spring table with our guide and recipes below!
HOW TO BUY
Look for bright green spears with firm, compact heads, and unwrinkled stalks. Purple or white asparagus should be vibrant with no brown spots or blemishes.
HOW TO STORE
Asparagus is best enjoyed on the day of purchase. However, it will keep for a couple of days if placed upright in a glass of water (like you would keep fresh flowers), with the tops loosely covered in plastic and refrigerated.
HOW TO PREPARE
Thoroughly wash the asparagus to remove any grit from the tips. To discard the tough stems: Hold both ends of the spear and gently bend until the tough base snaps off.
Find inspiration for how to cook asparagus with recipes from around the web:
- Gimme Some Oven – Blue Cheese Roasted Asparagus
- Well Plated – Easy Asparagus Tart
- Food Network – Asparagus Crostini
- Good Housekeeping – Asparagus Soup with Turkey and Tomato Tarts
- Rasa Malaysia – Asparagus Beef
- Just a Taste – Roasted Asparagus with Cheesy Breadcrumbs (pictured above)
What is your favorite way to cook with asparagus?