Asparagus is easy to prepare and cook. It can be boiled, steamed, blanched, roasted or sautéed - young asparagus can even be eaten raw. Find out how to cook asparagus.
Asparagus is one of the delights of spring.
While most vegetables are either nearing the end of their winter season or aren't yet ready to crop, asparagus is ready to harvest in spring.
British asparagus has a relatively short season, running from the end of April until the end of June. In other parts of the world the season differs.
And it's so delicious that it really is worth making the most of asparagus while it's in season.
- How to prepare asparagus
- How to boil asparagus
- How to steam asparagus
- How to blanch asparagus
- How to roast asparagus
- How to sauté asparagus
- Can you eat asparagus raw?
- How to store asparagus
- Asparagus recipes
- Printable recipe card
How to prepare asparagus
- Wash the asparagus well. If you can see any grit in the spears you may want to soak them in cold water for a few minutes to help release this.
- Cut off any thick, woody ends - very young asparagus should be fine to skip this step.
- Asparagus can be cooked whole or cut into sections before cooking.
- To slice your asparagus cut on the diagonal into two or three sections.
How to boil asparagus
Asparagus is easy to boil.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
- Add the prepared asparagus.
- Boil for two to three minutes, then drain.
- I recommend blanching in iced water to keep the vibrant green colour if not eating immediately.
How to steam asparagus
- Prepare your asparagus.
- Place into your steamer basket over a pan of boiling water.
- Steam for two to three minutes then remove from the heat.
- If not eating immediately blanch in iced water to retain the colour.
How to blanch asparagus
If you're not going to eat your asparagus immediately after cooking I recommend you blanch it (soak in iced water).
To blanch your asparagus:
- Get a large bowl ready and fill with iced water.
- Place your prepared asparagus in a pan of salted, boiling water.
- Boil for two to three minutes.
- Drain in a sieve or colander.
- Immediately transfer to the bowl of iced water. This blanching process stops any further cooking and helps vegetables to retain their vibrant green colour.
- Once cool drain again, removing any ice cubes and store or serve.
How to roast asparagus
Asparagus can be roasted in whole spears or sliced into pieces.
- Pre-heat your oven to 180°(fan)/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Place your prepared asparagus on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and season with a little sea salt and black pepper.
- Roast for 10 minutes, then stir and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of your asparagus spears and whole spears may need to roasted for a little longer.
- Test your asparagus by inserting a sharp knife or fork into a spear. If it feels soft and looks cooked on the outside it's done.
How to sauté asparagus
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan.
- Add sliced asparagus to the pan and sauté for four or five minutes, until soft.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Can you eat asparagus raw?
Young asparagus can be safely eaten raw. Read more about the health benefits of asparagus, including whether asparagus can be eaten raw.
Older asparagus can be a bit tough so is best cooked.
Raw asparagus can be added to salads.
How to cook asparagus
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How to cook asparagus
- 200 g asparagus
- Wash the asparagus well.
- Slice each asparagus spear into two or three pieces.
- Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Place the asparagus spears in the water and boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes.
- Drain the asparagus and immediately place in the bowl of iced water.
- Leave for several minutes and then drain again, removing any ice cubes.
- Store in the fridge if not eating immediately.
- You can cook the asparagus spears whole instead of chopping them if you prefer. You'll still need to discard any woody ends. Make sure your pan is large enough.
- Nutritional information is approximate and is intended as a guide only.
- Blanched asparagus is suitable for freezing.
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