The parts of the asparagus that we eat are the sprouts. Once the asparagus sprouts begin to branch out, the stems become very woody, and actually will grow into a plant that looks like a little tree with small flowers and red berries. Select asparagus that is firm, bright green, and still tender (not soft) at the bottom and not dried out. The thickness of the stem will vary from 1/4 - 3/4 inch in diameter at the base. The thicker ones have a tendency to get somewhat woody at the base, but the flavor is the same. It will store in the refrigerator for a few days, but we usually try to eat it no more than two days after purchase. When ready to use, before removing the market's rubber bands from the bunch, we cut off about 1/2 inch from the bottoms. See our asparagus recipe directory for helpful suggestions. To enlarge the photo and see the nutritional chart, click on the photo or link.

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