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How to Properly Cut and Prepare Asparagus

This post was written by my foodie sister Robin, who is now sharing all of her favorite recipes and kitchen tips regularly on the new “Make It and Love It – in the KITCHEN” portion of this blog. Try a few of her recipes…your belly will thank you! -Ashley

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Hey guys….it’s Robin, and I’m happy to be back!

Today’s post is a quickie.  But I have realized not everyone knows that there is a proper way to prepare that odd little stalk of green vegetable that we call asparagus.  So this is for those of you who never knew this great little tip —


For some, asparagus is an unfamiliar vegetable. But it can be grilled, sautéed, boiled, roasted, steamed… am I forgetting something?



Once in a while, I run into cooked asparagus that is woody and hard to chew. The reason is that it was harvested later than it should have been and the bottom woodier part of the stalk was not removed. The thicker the stalk of asparagus the older it is and more woody it is.  So when you are buying asparagus in the super market, the SKINNIER it is — the BETTER!


Now, just by looking at an asparagus stalk you don’t know where the woodiness ends and the tenderness begins.  Here’s a great technique to find that sweet spot.




Take your stalk and start bending it more toward the bottom end of the stalk




Bend it, applying more pressure towards the bottom of the stalk, until it breaks.




Where it broke indicates where the woodiness ends and the tenderness begins.


Throw out this bottom end. And keep the top.




Sometimes you will break it using this technique and more than half of the stalk will need to be discarded. Don’t be tempted to use it. It is super hard to chew and not as enjoyable.  So yep, just toss it!




And that’s it.  All of the good parts are ready to go!




Now rinse them off and cook them to your liking!





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Need a few other ideas for your kitchen?

Check out some of these tried and true recipes!!!



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  1. Celeste says:

    After reading the comments, we decided to try some using your snap method, and some using the whole thing and we preferred the snap method a lot more. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Grandpa Rob says:

    I agree that the woody part should cut off. My thumb is calibrated to find the sweet spot!? However, the thick stalks are better eating. My brother in law grew it commercially and the skinny stuff is called “pencil grass” and is not nearly as marketable. Love asparagus!

  3. katklaw777 says:

    My Mom always told me the skinnier the better but it has proved wrong for me too.
    I like mine med to med large and I usually snap each stalk. If I am feeling ambitious, I will peel the ends.
    Either way I save all the ends, peels etc of all my veggies even onions, throw them in la gallon size freezer bag in the freezer and when it’s full I throw it in the crockpot, cover with water and make veggie broth.

  4. Eva says:

    I peel the woody part of the asparagus with a potato peeler and use it in the salad or just eat as is. No waste.

  5. Caitie says:

    I agree with Stephanie above. Having grown asparagus for several years, it is my observation that the more fertile the soil the thicker your asparagus stalks (and MUCH tastier!) Once the asparagus shoots up, it doesn’t grow thicker, just taller. I do appreciate the snapping tip though, hadn’t thought of doing that!

  6. Stephanie says:

    I hate to break it to you all, but this simply isn’t true. I encourage you to read this article by J. Kenji Lopez at Serious Eats.

    Kenji is a restaurant-trained chef and former Editor at Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and his articles on Serious Eats make up a collection called The Food Lab where he will often debunk commonly believed myths about cooking as well as test recipes over and over again to get the absolute best results. He’s also a pretty good writer. I really enjoy reading his work.

  7. Bonnie says:

    Actually, those woody ends have a lot of flavor. Toss them in to simmer with woody bits and leftovers of other veggies to make a vegetable broth to flavor your own or even (gasp!) canned soup. Of course, toss the woody and over-cooked veggies after extracting the flavor.

  8. trishwah says:

    I’ve been doing this for several years after hearing this tip on an NPR cooking show. It really works! I always get complements on my asparagus. My kids even eat it.

  9. fitri says:

    Thank you for sharing the tips, this is a simple thing that sometime we miss .. *shameful says that I mistaken chopped the end of asparagus all the time, no wonder my kid refuse to eat LOL

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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