A delicious spring vegetable, asparagus is bright green with a slightly sweet but earthy taste that pairs well with almost everything. Use this asparagus guide to learn when and how to choose the best, freshest asparagus and unique ways to prepare it. With different varieties of asparagus, you’ll also find some delicious, new recipes to whip up!

A plate of asparagus with text overlay.
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Asparagus is a stalky, green vegetable packed with nutrients. Some that it’s highest in are:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium

How To Buy Asparagus

Learning what to look for in asparagus is key to ensuring that you get the best possible stalks for your recipes. Use the information below when shopping for asparagus.

When Is Asparagus in Season?

Typically, asparagus is in season in the United States from February until June with its peak being in April and May. This is when it is freshest and normally sourced locally.

Outside of this time of year, if you see it in the grocery stores, it’s most likely to come from somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere such as Peru.

Though it’s fine to purchase outside of peak season, it will have had to travel a significant distance to get to you which means that it won’t be as fresh.

What To Look for In Fresh Asparagus

When you’re heading out to buy a bundle, look for asparagus with tips that are tightly closed. You also want the stalks to still be a lovely, bright green color with the bottoms every so slightly white. If you find the bottoms look very depleted in color, appearing almost “woody”, steer clear.

Make sure that it’s firm to the touch and that the asparagus doesn’t look limp or wilted which would signify that it’s past its peak in freshness.

Types Of Asparagus

Though green asparagus is the most common, there are actually three different varieties:

  • Green asparagus
  • Purple asparagus
  • White asparagus

The process of choosing asparagus is the same regardless of the variety. However, there are slight difference in taste among them.

Though white asparagus tastes similar to green, it’s been grown underneath the soil or sand, so it’s depleted in color. This can add a fun fresh look to your spring salads and other dishes.

Purple asparagus is a bit sweeter than the green and white varieties as it has a higher sugar content. This makes it extra tasty when seasoned simply. However, because of its potent pigment, it contains higher amounts of some vitamins.

How To Store Asparagus

The goal when storing asparagus is to keep it as fresh as possible. If you’re not eating your asparagus within a day or two, trim the ends off and place it upright in a shallow glass of water.

You could also stand it upright wrapped with a damp cloth and place it in the refrigerator.

Stored like this, asparagus will stay fresh and crisp for up to a week in the fridge.

How to Prepare Asparagus

Before you do anything else, snap or cut the tough ends off of each spear of asparagus. Then, wash the stalks under cold water to remove any sand left over.

Eating It Raw

Asparagus is so delicious it doesn’t even need to be eaten cooked! It’s wonderful when shaved with a vegetable peeler and added to spring salads.

Cooking Asparagus

This spring vegetable is extra versatile and can be boiled, steamed, grilled, or roasted. In fact, try it air-fried and wrapped in bacon for the ultimate side dish.

Learn more about how to cook asparagus for all the details on cooking this early spring vegetable.

Frequently Asked Questions About Asparagus

What parts of asparagus do you cut off before cooking?

Before cooking your asparagus, you’ll want to trim the ends off. Aim to cut off 1-2 inches of each stalk, look for the tough, woody parts at the bottom. Depending on how fresh the asparagus is, this will be more or less.

Do you have to remove the scales from asparagus?

No! The outside of the asparagus can be eaten and is in fact, very healthy. There is no need to peel the asparagus before eating it.

What are the benefits of asparagus?

Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable that’s a great addition to any diet. It’s high in antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin E, and many more nutrients we need to take in throughout the day.

Is thick or thin asparagus better?

Much of this is personal preference, however, thicker asparagus tends to be more tender than the thinner stalks. They’re also higher in soluble fiber. So, when possible, aim for the larger stalks for your asparagus recipes.

The Best Asparagus Recipes

Check out everything asparagus has to offer with these 18 asparagus recipes that cover everything from sides to soup and mains courses to salads. Find a new asparagus recipe to make the most of this delicious spring vegetable!

Crispy baked asparagus fries.
4.86 from 7 votes

Baked Asparagus Fries

Gluten-free and vegan baked asparagus fries are a deliciously crispy way to enjoy this spring vegetable. Serve with an easy lemon dijon dipping sauce for maximum enjoyment!
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Air fried asparagus bunches wrapped in crispy bacon on a plate with forks to the side.
4.99 from 58 votes

Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Crispy bacon wrapped asparagus bundles roasted in the air fryer come out perfectly roasted and incredibly delicious as an easy side dish or appetizer.
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roasted potatoes and asparagus
4.77 from 26 votes

Garlic Balsamic Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

This easy side dish of oven roasted potatoes and asparagus is made all on one baking sheet with garlic balsamic seasoning.
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Asparagus omelette soufflé topped with microgreens.
5 from 46 votes

Asparagus Omelette Soufflé

This omelette soufflé is a light and fluffy breakfast bursting with fresh spring ingredients like asparagus, green onions and optional creamy tart goat cheese.
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This asparagus tomato salad is bursting with bright lemon flavor. Topped with sharp parmesan and fresh basil it's the perfect way to ring in the spring season.
5 from 1 vote

Lemony Shaved Asparagus Tomato Salad

This asparagus tomato salad is bursting with bright lemon flavor. Topped with sharp parmesan and fresh basil it’s the perfect way to ring in the spring season.
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No ratings yet

Bacon and Asparagus Fried Couscous

This quick and simple bacon and asparagus fried couscous is pan fried in bacon fat for a delicious spin on fried rice.
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Instant Pot asparagus.
4.97 from 96 votes

Instant Pot Asparagus

This easy Instant Pot asparagus recipe uses olive oil, butter (dairy or plant-based) and garlic for a simple yet delicious side dish you can make in just minutes!
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5 from 1 vote

Shaved Asparagus Blood Orange Salad with Toasted Quinoa

This shaved asparagus and blood orange salad is topped with toasted quinoa for some crunch. It’s healthy, bright and refreshing.
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4 from 1 vote

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

This is a simple roasted asparagus recipe that’s a perfect spring side dish bursting with lemon flavor.
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Leek and Asparagus Quiche With Almond Meal Crust

Leek and Asparagus Quiche With Almond Meal Crust

A spring forward quiche made with an almond meal crust so that it’s naturally gluten-free.
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Pasta Carbonara w/Asparagus, Pancetta, & Lemon Herb Breadcrumbs

Pasta Carbonara w/Asparagus, Pancetta, & Lemon Herb Breadcrumbs

Pasta Carbonara w/Asparagus, Pancetta, & Lemon Herb Breadcrumbs- a tasty pasta dish perfect for the weekend!
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Asparagus Frittata For Two

Asparagus Frittata For Two

Need a breakfast for two? This tasty asparagus frittata is the perfect recipe. Packed full of fresh chopped asparagus, Parmesan cheese and sharp cheese.
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Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza

Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza

Whip up the ultimate homemade pizza with a recipe for easy homemade pizza dough topped with creamy ricotta and thin slivers of asparagus.
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Flavorful Smoked Asparagus

Flavorful Smoked Asparagus

This smoked asparagus on a Traeger grill or pellet smoker boasts a blend of buttery and lemon flavors to give you a versatile side dish.
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Roasted Asparagus Salad with Poached Eggs

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Poached Eggs

Shake up your salad routine with this Roasted Asparagus Salad with Poached Eggs. It’s packed with summery asparagus and topped with perfectly poached eggs.
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Vegan Creamy Roasted Asparagus Soup

Vegan Creamy Roasted Asparagus Soup

This Vegan Creamy Roasted Asparagus Soup is deeply satisfying and easy to make. It’s delicious, has a light and creamy taste and ready in 30 minutes.
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Asparagus Risotto - Delish Knowledge

Asparagus Risotto – Delish Knowledge

Classic asparagus risotto just in time for Spring! Made with fresh asparagus, shallots, arborio rice and fresh herbs. Vegetarian or vegan.
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Asparagus Noodles With Alfredo Sauce And Bacon

Asparagus Noodles With Alfredo Sauce And Bacon

This Asparagus Noodles With Alfredo Sauce And Bacon is a 30-minute meal and is a fun and innovative way to incorporate asparagus into a dish.
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Check out these other spring vegetable guides:

A Guide To Radishes
A Guide To Artichokes
A Guide To Leeks
A Guide To Peas

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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21 Comments

  1. I love asparagus season! There are so many good recipes in this post! Thanks for sharing. I made the frittata over the weekend and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to try more.

  2. Oh wow! This is a super helpful resource. Thank you putting it all together in one place. It is worthy of bookmarking!

  3. Such a fantastic resource! This guide really helped me with my asparagus recipes. I loved the pasta carbonara and omellette souffle! So good! Thanks for making this list and I appreciate the tips.

  4. I love asparagus and am eager to try some of these recipes! I appreciate your tips, too, and kept some asparagus with the ends in water like you suggested and it kept fresh and fabulous for a week! Win!

  5. Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies! It’s such a versatile ingredient! I tried your asparagus fries recipe and it was so good! Saved this post so I can try the other dishes!

  6. This Roasted Asparagus Salad with Poached Eggs was a delicious twist to my usual salad routine. The asparagus was perfectly roasted and the poached eggs added a creamy richness. So yummy! Trying the Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza next for our pizza night with friends.

  7. I am starting to feel as if spring will never arrive! But I love asparagus and cannot wait to eat it. And I look forward to the rest of your series!

  8. Asparagus is one of those foods for me that I can only eat if I have a good amount of seasoning on it. I know its really healthy so I try hard to like it.

    But, maybe I will try this recipe and see if its any better. It looks good from the picture – you take such good photos!