You know, when you get your first asparagus, or your first acorn squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook's year. I get more excited by that than anything else.
—Chef Mario Batali
One of the most anticipated tastes of spring is the first bite of tender, grassy asparagus.
Asparagus is high in folic acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamins A, B6 and C.
Look for sturdy spears with tight heads; the cut ends should not look dried out, wrinkled or woody. Fresh asparagus should snap when bent. Buy the freshest you can find and plan to use it within a day or two.
If you need to store asparagus, trim the ends of spears and stand them upright in about an inch of water. (Leave the spears bundled together with a rubber band or pick a round container roughly the size of your bunch to keep them upright.) Cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Or wrap the ends with damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.