asparagus on a table

Preparation: Step-by-Step 

Put Image Description Here

Wash hands. Thoroughly rinse asparagus
to remove any dirt.


Put Image Description Here

Chop off white, woody ends.
These ends have a tough texture.

Put Image Description Here

If roasting or grilling, leave spears whole.

Put Image Description Here

If sautéing or using in stir-fry, chop asparagus
into bite-size pieces of about one inch.


  • Plant one- or two-year-old crowns (stem and roots) in full sun six weeks before the last spring frost. Plant crowns 18-24 inches apart in trenches eight inches deep. Spread roots in bottom of trench and cover with 1-2 inches of soil. Gradually cover with more soil as growth progresses. Provide 1-2 inches of water every week, especially during first year, but do not overwater. Consider mulching in mid-summer to help control weeds. 

    For more growing information, look for the MSU Extension MontGuide: Planting a Successful Home Vegetable Garden,  or contact your local MSU Extension office.


  • Harvest in summer, only after the third year. Snap 6- to 10-inch long, pencil-thin spears close to the ground. Do not over harvest.
  • Choose odorless, pencil-thin to 1/2-inch thick asparagus spears with dry, tight tips. Avoid limp, wilted, or extra-large, woody spears.
  • Refrigerate asparagus up to four days by wrapping bottom ends of stalks in wet paper towel and placing in a plastic bag.
  • Most vegetables are rich in fiber and phytochemicals, but provide negligible amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium and are gluten-free. Asparagus is high in folate and potassium and is a good source of Vitamins K and A, with only 20 calories per half-cup serving.


  • Place asparagus in a plastic bag, drizzle with olive oil and low-sodium seasoning. Shake until asparagus is coated, then put spears on a preheated (medium-high heat) grill or under a hot broiler. Cook about 5-8 minutes until tender, turning occasionally.


  • Place asparagus in a microwave-safe container with a small amount of water, low-sodium seasoning, and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.


  • Rinse and dry asparagus and enjoy as is, or in your favorite dip or salad.

Sauté or Stir-fry.

  • Drizzle cooking oil in a heated pan. Add low-sodium seasoning with bite-size or one-inch pieces. Cook asparagus by stirring over high heat until desired tenderness, about 5-8 minutes.


  • Place asparagus in a plastic bag, drizzle with olive oil and seasoning. Shake until asparagus is coated, transfer spears onto a baking sheet or pan, then roast in oven at 400° F, about 5-8 minutes.


  • To enhance flavor, season with allspice, basil, dill weed, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, thyme or lemon juice.


  • Place asparagus in a pan with a small amount of water, low-sodium seasoning, and garlic. Cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until desired tenderness.



For More Information:
Montana State University Extension:
MSU Extension Master Gardener:
MSU Extension Food and Nutrition:
MSU Extension Nutrition Education Programs:


Date of Publication: January 2014

 Download PDF