I know that most of the country is still going thru winter conditions, but here on the west coast, we've had a pretty good run of spring-like weather. There are several things that say spring: breezy nice weather, girl scout cookies and fresh new produce. One of the joys of spring is the lovely asparagus. The season begins now and peaks in April/May in the west and May/July in the rest of the US. So now that you know it's in season, how do you go about bringing home the best stalks?
- Look for straight, firm stalks that do not have a strong odor.
- Choose stalks with smooth, tender skin, and that have compact (closed) deep-green or purple tips. Make sure there are no fernlike stalks growing out of the top.
- Narrower stalks tend to be (but are not always) more tender than thick stalks (which can be woody).
- Choose stalks of similar size so that they will cook evenly.
- Once you get it home, keep refrigerated or standing upright in cold water. If there's no room for this, wrap the base of the asparagus with a damp towel. It's best used the same day, but should keep for 3-4 days, longer if bought from a farmer's market.