The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender. Asparagus arrives with the coming of spring, when its shoots break through the soil and reach their 6-8 inch harvest length. Their season generally is considered to run from April through May.
Fresh asparagus will be bright green with no signs of shriveling. The tender tips may have a purplish cast, but they should be firm and tight, never mushy. The cut end will be thick and fibrous—the plant’s reaction to the injury of cutting. This end is cut off before cooking, but if the shoots are fresh, you may lose only an inch.
Asparagus can be cooked in a number of ways: it can be roasted, grilled, boiled, steamed, sautéed, or even microwaved. If you grill asparagus, try making “rafts” to make flipping the asparagus on the grill a bit easier.
To prepare asparagus, break off the tough ends of the stalks. Simply take a piece and bend it near the bottom of the stalk, and it will naturally snap in the right spot.
Wrap in damp kitchen paper, put in a perforated paper or plastic bag and keep in the salad drawer of the fridge. You can also store it in a glass or jug of cold water in the fridge.