With so many nutrients packed in very few calories, asparagus remains one of the best vegetables you can cook to get essential vitamins and minerals. If you’re looking for some greenery that isn’t calorie-dense that will give you plenty of energy, asparagus is an excellent choice. Asparagus can be stir-fried, roasted, grilled, and used for making vegetable broth.
When unpacking asparagus from the grocery store, you will need to work with them a little before they’re ready. There are certain parts of asparagus that you will want to remove before cutting.
This article will show how to cut asparagus in various ways, methods of cooking and answer commonly asked questions about these healthy greens.
Know your asparagus
Asparagus has adequate circulation as it’s a trendy vegetable. The ones you will find at stores will be mainly fresh, but you will want to make some inspections regardless. Here is what to look for in good and fresh asparagus.
- The flowers at the tip should be tightly closed and shouldn’t be separated.
- The bottom, woody white part of the asparagus, which you will remove, should be firm and look as if it was just cut. Don’t pick asparagus with shriveled bottom ends.
- The color shouldn’t be faded. Depending on the variety, it should be green, white, or purple.
Preparing asparagus before cutting
Before you get ready to chop your asparagus, rinse it to remove any dirt. Pay attention closely to the tip of the asparagus as dirt can get stuck there. After asparagus is clean, dry by tapping with a paper towel.
To prepare asparagus for cooking, you will need to trim and shave some of the parts. Your best assistants for these tasks are going to be a chef’s knife and vegetable peeler.
Trim off the woody ends
Line up the asparagus on your cutting surface and trim about an inch to half an inch off white ends. These parts are woody bits that you don’t want to eat as they are extremely tough and fibrous.
Peel to smooth the asparagus stalks
With the white woody parts removed, there is one last thing to do. Take your vegetable peeler and peel the asparagus stalks towards the lower end. Make sure to remove any of the stringy parts to have smooth asparagus. Once you get to peel asparagus, you will reveal the inner, white portion of the vegetable; that’s what we want to see.
Now that your asparagus is nice and long, it’s ready to cut. You can throw away the scraps and shreds or keep them in the freezer to make broth or soups with other vegetable bits.
Different ways to cut asparagus
Asparagus is thin and long, which makes it a versatile vegetable in terms of ways of cutting. You can quickly chop them into smaller chunks or get creative a little and make diagonal cuts in different sizes.
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The way you’re going to cut asparagus depends mainly on how you’re going to cook them. Here are different ways to cut asparagus and the best cooking method for each.
45-degree diagonal cuts
- Line up four to five pieces of asparagus on the cutting board.
- Hold the blade of your knife at a 45-degree angle on the asparagus and make diagonal cuts that are about two inches.
You can also make diagonal cuts by following the technique below.
- Place the knife on the asparagus at a 45-degree angle.
- Cut the asparagus while holding them with your fingers, except for the thumb, and slide the knife under your fingers.
Cut them this way slowly if you haven’t done so in the past to avoid accidental cuts.
The 45-degree diagonal cuts (bias cuts) are a perfect way to transform long pieces of asparagus into shorter bits to fry or oven-roast them. You can also microwave these cuts of asparagus in a microwave-safe baking cup added with three tablespoons of water.
Long pieces of asparagus
- Line as many pieces of asparagus as the length of your knife.
- Cut them in half or one-third.
When grilling or pan-roasting asparagus, you will want to cook as much as possible. Cutting asparagus in half or turning these already long vegetables into strips can help to share with everyone. Additionally, you can also grill them after trimming the asparagus without the need for cutting.
- Line up asparagus on the cutting board.
- Cut every piece in half.
- Take three to four stalks and stick them together on the cutting board.
- Chop them into half an inch pieces.
Use chopped asparagus to make sautees with garlic to complement main dishes like steaks or simply steam them and serve with butter and salt.
How do you store asparagus?
After cutting enough asparagus stalks, you might have some left that can be used for later. Trim the asparagus stalks and store them in a mason jar filled with water to cover the lower half about an inch.
Though asparagus is best when cooked the day you buy from the store, you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to three days. Also, change the water if they get cloudy.
How to cook asparagus?
You can cook asparagus in pretty much any way you can imagine. By utilizing the cutting methods explained above, you can use asparagus as the main dish or garnish other foods. Here are a few of the ways you can cook asparagus.
Blanching (boiling) is an excellent way to cook asparagus if you’re going to serve them chilled. Bring a large pot of water with salt to boil and cook asparagus for about two to four minutes, until tender. How long you’re going to cook asparagus depends mainly on the thickness. After cooking, submerge them in ice water to cool asparagus entirely.
Complete steaks by stir-frying asparagus with garlic and green onions. Heat a frying pan and add cooking oil. Before adding the asparagus, add chopped green onions and minced garlic. Then, toss the asparagus into the mix and stir until you get the browned edges for about four to five minutes. You can also stir-fry asparagus on its own.
Oven-roasting asparagus is straightforward and hassle-free. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F or 220 degrees C. Add a little cooking oil to the asparagus to avoid dehydration, and cook until brown and tender. The asparagus should cook in twelve to fifteen minutes. Serve the oven-roasted asparagus with a squirt of a bit of lemon juice, if desired.
Looking for ways to decorate a barbecue with some greenery? Grilled asparagus is a perfect way to go about it. Rub asparagus with a bit of cooking oil, throw them into the grill and cook roughly for ten minutes or until evenly brown. Grilling asparagus keeps its grassy taste and gives it a smoky crust.
Pan-roasted asparagus gives you brown edges with perfectly cooked inner parts without the need for an oven or grill. In a frying pan, heat a few drops of cooking oil or butter if that’s what you prefer, and toss the asparagus in and cover. Shake the pan frequently, and in about eight to ten minutes, you will have yummy pan-roasted asparagus.
Because asparagus is long, you will want to cut them by sticking them together. When cutting vegetables like this, the best tool is a knife with a thick blade like the Chef Knife we have in our store. For more tips and guidelines, read more on HDMD Knives blog.