How to Trim Asparagus Spears


The asparagus season begins in early May and continues into June. The tender young spears of the asparagus plant are suitable for steaming, boiling or baking. Purchase or harvest spears with tightly closed leaf ends and straight stalks that are 4 to 6 inches long. The stalks become tough and woody as the leaves begin to open, making them unsuitable for use. Even tender young stalks have some woody bits, so they require trimming before you prepare and serve them.

Things You'll Need

  • Colander
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic wrap
  • Place the asparagus in a colander. Set the colander in the sink. Rinse the asparagus under cool running water, removing any soil stuck to the stem.

  • Lay the spears on a cutting board. Cut or break off the stem end of each spear, removing the purplish section of the stem.

  • Cut off any of the scales that have pulled away from the stem. These scales are tough and woody, as opposed to the tender scales that still sit snugly against the stem.

  • Dry the asparagus spears with a paper towel if you aren't using them immediately. Wrap the spears in plastic wrap and store in the vegetable crisper for up to three days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prepare the spears whole or cut them into 1 inch pieces before cooking them.
  • Thicker asparagus spears are usually more tender than those with a smaller diameters.

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