What To Avoid When Buying Asparagus At The Grocery Store

Asparagus is truly a vegetable that is the best of both worlds. It can taste either fresh and green or complex and savory. It can also be served as a standalone side dish or included as a key ingredient in a main course. This premium produce can only shine, however, if you select the highest quality bunch available.

The key to purchasing the best asparagus is to pay attention to the texture of the stalks and the appearance of the spear tips. Avoid stalks that feel spongy or wilt over to one side when standing upright, and stay away from asparagus whose ends have spread-out tips. Instead, pick out bunches that have stiff, springy stalks and narrow, closed-up tips. These traits indicate the asparagus is at its peak and will taste exactly as good as you would expect it to. While it may seem obvious, it's worth mentioning that you should also ditch any asparagus that shows signs of spoilage, such as sliminess, mold, or a funky smell.

How to keep your asparagus fresh

Once you get your hands on some quality asparagus, you should store it correctly to ensure it does not go to waste. To keep asparagus fresh, wrap it in a damp paper towel to maintain its moisture, place it in an airtight container, and then stow it away in the refrigerator. This way, it will keep for a day or two. If you want to make it last even longer, you can stand the bunch upright in a jar of water as you would flowers, then cover the tips with a plastic bag. This method will help the asparagus last for at least one week.

Even with these tips, it's crucial to use your asparagus promptly to get the ideal flavor and texture out of them. If you aren't sure how you want to cook it, we have plenty of recommendations to get you started. For purists, make this vegetable the centerpiece with a simple roasted asparagus dish or these pickled asparagus spears. Pasta lovers will happily chow down on our asparagus, leek, and pancetta pasta, or you can wow guests with a beautiful cheesy asparagus galette. Don't be afraid to get creative; after all, when the asparagus is fresh, it's hard to go wrong.