Asparagus season is almost in full swing on the west coast and is sure to arrive on the doorstep of communities around the country soon enough. Spring onions and green garlic often accompany asparagus at farmers’ markets in the warmer states, so keep an eye out for these harbingers of the season. The asparagus harvest usually lasts about 8-9 weeks and then the plants are left to gather strength for the next year’s crop.
Thick or thin? Everyone it seems, has an opinion, but both types have advantages. Thin asparagus spears cook quickly, are less fibrous, and don’t require peeling, making them ideal for soups, sautés or stir-fries. Thick spears boast a stronger flavor profile, hold their shape and color well, and don’t go limp when grilled or poached, making them the perfect choice for warm or chilled salads.
At the farmers’ market look for asparagus with fresh cut bottoms, and upon bringing them home it’s best to cut off a small portion of the stem and store the spears in a half inch of water. A tall bowl or flower vase works best, and loosely covered in a bag in the refrigerator (to reduce carbon dioxide and ethylene buildup), asparagus will last for a week.
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