How to Trim and Cut Asparagus

vancouver-island-asparagus

Written by Chef Heidi Fink  l  June 29, 2010

It’s almost the end of asparagus season here on Vancouver Island and I need to show you this before it’s too late! I am sure that many of you already know all about asparagus, but there are enough asparagus-newbies out there to make a post like this worthwhile.

If you don’t already know, the bottom end of asparagus is woody, fibrous, and unpleasant to eat. It needs to go in the compost and not in the pot. But on every spear of asparagus, the fibrous end is a different length, so you can’t get away with cutting an inch or so off the bottom and hoping for the best.

Here’s how you trim asparagus, in step-by-step illustrations with a lovely bunch of Saanich asparagus:

trim-asparagus

1. Hold a spear of asparagus so that there is end in each hand

snapping-asparagus

2. Bend downward with each end until the asparagus breaks in two on its own

Let’s see that again in slow motion replay:

asparagus-stalks

Hold a spear of asparagus with an end in each hand and bend downward with each end. You should see the asparagus bend in the middle (see above) before it snaps under the pressure.

snap-asparagus-stalk

There it is, snapping in two.

asparagus-spears

Repeat with more spears. They will begin to look like this.

preparing-asparagus

Repeat with the whole bunch of asparagus. By the time you are done, it will look like the picture above. Purplish ends on the left = destined for compost or stockpot. Greenish spears on right = going to dinner.

trimming-asparagus-spears

Once the spears are trimmed, you can cook them as-is, or cut them into one-inch lengths (above).

And there you have it!


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