Radical Cooking - How To Condition Your Asparagus

Cooking outside the take out box
Better, faster, fresher, cheaper, healthier......

Hold the spear in each hand

Want better tasting, butter tender asparagus?

You've got to condition it!

Asparagus is a reed.  Once cut, it looses moisture very quickly.

When you condition asparagus, you soak the ends in water much the same way as you condition flowers before arranging.
Gently bend and the spear
will snap at just the
right place 

Here's how to condition asparagus:

1. Put your asparagus in a bowl or in the sink and cover with tepid tap water. Gently swish the stalks around. Drain. Repeat 2 more times so you have rinsed them for a total of 3 times. Drain. Drying is not necessary.

Discard the short,
woody ends
2. Take one spear at a time and, holding the tip end in one hand and the cut end in the other hand, bend the stalk gently. It will snap where the woody part meets the tender part. Discard the woody (cut) end.

3. Stand the spears up right in 1 inch of water. (Do not soak the tip ends.) Drape a plastic bag over the top. Refrigerate to allow the asparagus to soak up the water and become "conditioned".

Stand spears upright in
1 inch of tap water

Fresh, cut from the garden, asparagus needs at least 1 hour. Longer is OK.

Grocery store asparagus must be conditioned for 18 to 24 hours. Longer is OK.

Change the water every 24 hours if you are keeping the asparagus for a few days. Leave the plastic bag in place.

Open a plastic bag and drape
over the top

When ready to cook, remove the asparagus from the water. Discard the water. Cut the spears as your recipe directs.


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