The Asparagus Snapping Myth Is Leading You Astray

An alleged kitchen hack says that the best way to prepare asparagus for cooking is to take each spear in your hands, one at a time, and bend it until it breaks. The objective behind this method is to separate the delicious, tender top of the asparagus from the rough and fibrous bottom. This approach takes for granted the assumption that the asparagus will break just above the part that is too stiff.

But, in practice, if you're snapping a bunch of asparagus, you are not going to take the time to find that exact breaking point with each one. More likely, you'll snap them quickly. This almost always results in breaking the asparagus in half and throwing away more than you need to. The end result? Wasted time and wasted asparagus. Instead of letting the snapping trick lead you astray, make sure you're getting full use out of your asparagus.

Don't waste any asparagus

Here is what you can do instead. Pick a stalk of asparagus that looks like an average representation of the rest of the bunch. Take it carefully in your hands, and starting at the bottom of the asparagus, feel up the stalk for where it bends naturally and breaks under your pressure. You'll find that instead of snapping in half, you have only broken the fibrous base off of the stalk.

It would be unnecessarily time-consuming to repeat this step with the rest of the asparagus. So instead, use your snapped piece as the measuring stick for the other stalks. Line them up at the tips and using a rubberband to hold the others in place, cut the rest of the asparagus with a knife so that they are all the same length.

This method accomplishes the goal of the snap method, which is to remove the hard-to-chew pieces, but without sacrificing any more of the delicious green stalk than necessary. Now you're all set to cook your favorite asparagus dish — for me, it's this asparagus and goat cheese tart.