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Asparagus Tips

These delectable spears of spring, with their vivid color and delicate flavor, are good hot or cold, dressed up or down.

Through Thick and Thin

Asparagus comes in several sizes, ranging in diameter from thinner than a drinking straw to fatter than your thumb.

  • Thin, tender spears can be sautéed, steamed, or rubbed lightly with olive oil and grilled.
  • Fatter asparagus spears will need to be trimmed and either steamed or boiled in order to be tender.
  • While some people prefer the smaller spears for their delicacy and tenderness, others like thick asparagus for its more robust flavor and meaty texture.

Top 20 Asparagus Recipes
VIDEO: How to Cook Asparagus

How to Buy and Store Asparagus

Whatever size you chose, look for firm, brightly colored stalks with tightly closed tips.

  • Asparagus begins to lose its sweetness as soon as it's picked, so try to cook it as soon as possible after you buy it.
  • Markets should refrigerate their asparagus or store it standing upright in cold water.
  • If you do plan to store it in your refrigerator for a few days after you get it home, treat it like a bouquet of flowers: trim a small amount from the bottoms of the stalks with a sharp knife and place them in a tall glass with a little water in the bottom. Cover the top loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator. This will keep the stalks firm and crisp until you are ready to cook them.

How to Prep Asparagus

The way you prepare your asparagus can depend upon its size.

  • The smallest spears will only need to have their very bottoms trimmed off before cooking.
  • The bottom portions of larger asparagus spears can be chewy and woody; they will either need to be snapped off or peeled. To snap off the tough portion, simply grasp the stalk with both hands and bend the bottom portion until it breaks off. The asparagus will naturally break off at the point where the tender portion ends and the tough, stringy part begins.
  • If you want to be less wasteful, you can peel your asparagus instead. Simply lay a stalk of asparagus flat on the countertop and strip away the tough outside layer with a vegetable peeler, beginning just below the tip and working your way towards the bottom

Note: Asparagus is grown in sandy soils. Before you cook it, wash well under cool water.

How to Cook Asparagus

Cooking times vary:

  • Tiny spears only need a minute or two in a sauté pan.
  • Larger spears may need more than five minutes in boiling salted water before they're perfectly tender.
  • Try drizzling spears with olive oil and roasting in the oven.
  • However you choose to cook it, watch your asparagus closely so that it doesn't get overdone. Well-cooked spears are easy to penetrate with a knife, but still bright green in color.

Jan. 21, 2010 12:15 am
Asparagus is on sale right now at my grocery store. Can I freeze it? and how long can asparagus keep in the fridge being snipped and in water with a cover? Maximum amount please.
Mar. 23, 2010 8:39 am
I have had asparagus stay good for more than a week NOT in water so I imagine it will last at least 2 weeks if you did it that way
Mar. 23, 2010 5:01 pm
Roast asparagus with lots of garlic (several cloves), some EVOO, and salt & pepper in a hot oven - shaking the dish every now and then. It makes the BEST asparagus ever! When I make this, I also throw some BLSL chicken breasts on the Foreman Grill. When they're through, I let them rest and slice them. Then I take all of the asparagus out of the dish (or serve it), and toss the chicken slices in the garlic and olive left in the dish. SO GOOD. We like to make chicken wraps out of the chicken and eat the asparagus on the side. Mmmmm...I could eat this 2-3 times a week.
Mar. 23, 2010 8:51 pm
I saute asparagus in some olive oil and season with seasoning salt, garlic powder and seasoning pepper, for about 3 minutes a side for this asparagus, it is sooooo goooood!!!!!
Mar. 23, 2010 8:54 pm
I like to put the asparagus on a large piece of aluminum foil, sprinkle with some chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, wrapped it up and roast at 350 for about 20 minutes. The asparagus steams in the foil. It is really tender and so yummy this way.
Mar. 23, 2010 10:36 pm
Mar. 23, 2010 10:40 pm
I cook it in the oven with olive oil, fresh shredded parmesian (spelling?)and fresh ground pepper. After it's done cooking I drizzle balsamic vinegar over it. Delish!
Mar. 23, 2010 11:20 pm
I saute my aparagus in a little olive oil until almost tender then I sprinkle bread crunbs over them with a little more olive oil cook untill bread crumbs are brown, it's like you breaded each and every one of them, or you can pour scrambled eggs over them with salt & pepper,cover and cook on low heat till eggs are cooked, makes a nice meal for breakfast, or at any time, so yummy
Mar. 24, 2010 6:40 am
Try using sesame oil instead of the olive oil it gives it a GREAT flavor
Mar. 24, 2010 7:39 am
I eat my asparagus by toasting a couple slices of bread, steam the asparagus and make a cream sauce with butter and salt and pepper and cover it all. HMMMMMMM so good. George
Jill B 
Mar. 24, 2010 11:20 am
Sautee with olive oil, garlic, and wrapped or tied with proscuito and a small sliver of provolone cheese placed on top just before taking it out of the pan.. WOW!
Mar. 24, 2010 11:45 am
I rinse the six stalks and snipp the bottom about 1/8 to 1/4 inch, then slice the whole bunch in to 1/8 th inch top to bottom and put in a Pyrex bowl and dish as cover and Microwave at 70% heat for 2 to three mins. As it is no spices or salt papper needed, I use Lime or Lemon juce and chopped onio, very delicious treat and no Calories to worry! One can make more ellaborate salad by adding condiments and Yoggurt, cheese, or other sauces to the basic steamed thinly sliced Aspargus and enjoy without wastting too much Good stuff( Fibert)
Mar. 24, 2010 12:39 pm
I use my indoor grill pan, and drizzle a little olive oil on the spears. I season with salt and pepper, and it's simply delicious.
Mar. 24, 2010 1:55 pm
Snip ends drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle lemon juice over asparagus. Sprinkle garlic power to taste. Roast in 400 degree oven for ten minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese while still hot and serve. Wonderful.
Mar. 24, 2010 6:54 pm
My wife cuts off about 2 1/2 inches off the bottom of asparagus stalks. I can't convince her that this is a wast of good edible stalks.What do i do,i eat them raw and they have a good flavor.I can't deal with wasted food of any kind.
Mar. 25, 2010 8:48 am
I mist mine with garlic infused EVOO and then sprinkle on salt and pepper mix, wrap in foil and grill over low heat for about 12 min. Try it once and you will fix this every time you warm the grill.
Mar. 25, 2010 10:53 am
Plain asperagus no oil, nothing just put on grill after you have grilled your meats & it will be delicious! It will take on the smoky flavor of the BBQ without the calories of any oli. However, adding garlic & EVOO to it then grilling is great too if you are not worried about the calorie content.
Mar. 27, 2010 11:19 am
If you like a bit of a kick, try serving steamed chilled asparagus with a little cream style horseradish. So good!
Mar. 28, 2010 4:13 am
I am with Viners Wife, use sesame oil instead of EVOO, salt, pepper and sesame seeds roast in the good!
Mar. 28, 2010 8:42 pm
Makes great finger sandwiches for tea parties. Steam or roast it. Cut crusts off white bread-wrap 1 spear in 1 slice of buttered bread lining tip up with one edge. Pince bread closed at seam and trim stem end for small pretty sandwiches.
Apr. 4, 2010 4:15 am
Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies, but I've never known how to cook it (although my grandmother always just simply boiled it), so thanks for all the info! (A tip for keeping green veggies green when boiling them. Take a paring knife and wet the blade in the water in which you're cooking the veggies. Stick the wet blade in baking soda and dip the baking soda-coated blade back into the cooking water. The baking soda will help to keep the veggies green while cooking.)
Apr. 4, 2010 10:12 am
I love asparagus and can't wait until i can freeze it using my vac. agreat idea
Apr. 8, 2010 6:55 pm
When i make asparagus i steam it first. Then in a skillet i brown some butter then add 3 or 4 cloves of minced garlic and let it cook just long enough for the garlic to flavor the butter I DO NOT let the garlic brown. Toss with the asparagus, a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and its good to go :)
Apr. 22, 2010 3:10 pm
I like steamed asparagus dipped in mayo.....sooooo goood. Great quick snack.
Apr. 22, 2010 4:21 pm
I have recently learned to LOVE asparagus. Can't wait until I can go to market to get some to try all these wonderful sounding recipes
Apr. 24, 2010 11:59 pm
When the new asapragas first hits the store, I buy several lbs. bring them home, washnd clean. I out them on a cookie sheet and freeze. then I put them in several seal a meal bags. Then when I want just a few for myself I TAKEJUST what I want to steam or stir fry. lasts almost a year that way....
May 1, 2010 8:44 am
My garden is full of asparagus. I am enjoying trying all these new recipes for this delicious vegetable.
May 1, 2010 8:48 am
I soak asparagus in water and lemon juice in the fridge for about an hour before sauteing. I saute the spears in extra virgin olive oil and butter, seasoned with lemmon pepper and a bit of salt.
May 23, 2010 5:45 am
gosh guys I have been giving my asparagus away,to much in the garden for one person,not anymore its straight in the freezer thanks to you all
Jun. 1, 2010 9:53 am
Butter + salt = PERFECT! i love the flavor of asparagus so I don't like to do much to it. Garlic is also a DELICIOUS addition! We used to eat it raw right out of my gpa's garden :)
Steve and DeLaina 
Jun. 29, 2010 8:12 am
Try this one... sautee asparagus with olive oil and pressed garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Toss a couple diced tomoates in. Top with crumbled feta or blue cheese.
Aug. 7, 2010 11:21 am
Bacon wrapped asparagus is to die for!! Had them at disneyland & had to have them when I got home~my new favorite way to make them!! Took 4 thinner asparagus put a skewer in the middle of them, wrapped a piece of backo around them to hold them together, put some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a little garlic on them and put them on the grill~ DELISH
Aug. 17, 2010 4:09 pm
We like to saute it in olive oil with garlic pepper until tender. Then, sprinkle a tiny bit of brown sugar over the spears and it's wonderful!
Mar. 13, 2011 10:11 am
I put mine in the oven drizzled with olive oil at 350*and it is nice and tender
Connie Arevalol 
Mar. 13, 2011 2:40 pm
I love asparagus..I appreciate all of these ways of preparation. Plan to try some. Thanks!
Mar. 28, 2011 3:34 pm
I have never cooked asparagus myself. But always loved it when someone else cooked it. With all these recipes I am sure to find one we love. Thanks everyone
Mar. 29, 2011 1:50 pm
I want ask LIZI who grows asparagus. Where do you buy the seeds and how to grow. Please give me some tips so that I can start growing it with other vegetables. Thanks
Mar. 29, 2011 5:16 pm
chaman--see the "How to Grow Asparagus" link under Related Tips and Advice section.
Mar. 30, 2011 10:17 am
I love to cook asparagus in the oven with garlic,olive oil,and parmesan cheese! It's so yummy!
Mar. 31, 2011 2:09 pm
I steamed it lightly so it is tender crisp. Then place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain. Drizzle with small amount of truffle oil and season with sea salt. Serve room temperature. This makes a great appetizer or side dish
Ruth Feder 
Apr. 2, 2011 2:11 pm
I have enjoyed reading all of these great recipes for asparagus,and,I plan to run out to a fresh produce stand ,RIGHT NOW,and get started on one of the many,yet to be enjoyed by my family,recipes, that, ALL seem like such wonderfully yummy ways to enjoy this unique-flavored vegetable!!! Thanks to all for your creativity!!!
Apr. 4, 2011 9:59 pm
You all rock! I'm not a big fan of asparagus but my husband goes weak in the knees so it's a must--steamed to aldente, plated with a sprinkle of goat cheese. However, I'm trying the oven, foil-wrapped recipes tomorrow evening. Steaming even a little seems to take away some of the taste.
Apr. 8, 2011 2:53 pm
asparagus is interesting to grow it is a perennial veg. and takes at least two years of growing before it produces after the growing season, the plant left behind is attractive try growing it on your own!
Apr. 24, 2011 8:31 am
i bought root stock that I was able to harvest the next year. I do have sandy soil, so have had 3 years. lesson learned: pick every stock that comes up or you will only have lovely fern like plants. give mine away too, but now I will freeze some too. ths for the tips.
Apr. 24, 2011 9:42 am
I like to slice the stalks of the smaller asparagus on the diagonal, then saute in butter and add fresh lemon juice while they are cooking, saute until just barely soft but still somewhat crunchy. My family loves it this way. I like the idea of using sesame oil, so think I will give that a go. Yum Yum...
May 12, 2011 2:25 pm
When I store asparagus in the frige, I leave it in the produce bag but I expose the tips, put a tablespoon or so of water in the bag and put a rubber band around the bag, then stand the bunch upright in the door. Keeps fresh for at least a week that way.
May 13, 2011 7:32 am
to freeze asparagus, blanch for 1 min, put in ice water, drain and freeze. You may can it too, but I find that it is too mushy and do not like the flavor
May 14, 2011 9:57 pm
I drizzle a little olive oil in a oblong dish,sprinkle with dried italian seasoning, pinch of oregano,and s/p to taste. Add your asparagus spears and coat. Just throw them in a hot skillet or on the grill. Turn freguently to brown.
Jan. 1, 2012 11:47 pm
I would like to know how some of you eliminate the sometimes bitterness asparagus and zucchini can have. I bake the veg. and spray with non stick oil and sprinkle with a cajun seasoning.
Mar. 9, 2012 8:00 am
Try asparagus as a fritata, beat eggs add a little parmagiano cheese, salt, pepper, fry in canola oil. Will look similar to potatoe pancakes. You'll love them as a side dish or snack. ENJOY!!!
Mar. 20, 2012 3:44 pm
I usually must have hollandaise sauce with it. That to me is food love. :)
Mar. 20, 2012 10:06 pm
We like to get some pistachios put them in a bag and smash them a little. then put them in a pan with some butter and satue to make a sauce to pour over the steamed asparagus. Delish!
Apr. 2, 2012 12:35 pm
if you want to keep your asparagus a nice deep green color while you are cooking or steaming it add a small pinch of baking soda to the water. this helps keep it a bright green, works with broccoli too.
Apr. 2, 2012 2:14 pm
I ook my asparagus in the oven I trim it sprinkle salt,pepper,basil and pats of butter and cook it in tin foil the basil gives it a nice flavor. Can also be done on the barbecue
May 15, 2012 3:04 pm
I like the tips for storing and prepping asparagus. Thank you!
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