Asparagus is considered a gourmet vegetable and prized for its succulent flavour and its nutritional content. The spears are bright green and topped by deep green to purple heads. Asparagus is delicious when eaten raw or cooked. It is rather delicate and care should be taken not to overcook.
Choose asparagus spears with thin stalks that are rounded rather than flat or twisted. A bit of woody texture at the end of the stalk will prevent drying, but most of the stalk should be moist and pliable. The bud-like heads should be closed and tightly bunched.
To store asparagus, remove the rubber bands and wrap the ends of the stalks in a damp paper towel. Put the bundle in a plastic bag and place it in the darkest part of the fridge to preserve the flavour and nutrition. It will remain fresh for four to five days.
Preparation Tip: Submerge the asparagus in water to remove any debris. Rinse well and dry before cooking. Apply pressure to the bottom of the stalk to remove the woody ends and use a vegetable peeler to remove any tough skin that remains. Lightly boil, steam or grill the asparagus until tender.