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How to Properly Clean Asparagus

When you buy a bunch of asparagus at the grocery store, it tends to look bright and vibrant. While it usually doesn’t appear to be covered with dirt, that doesn’t mean you should forego cleaning the spears — or any vegetable, for that matter. While not always immediately visible to the naked eye, dirt, pesticides, and even small insects can still be present. So, it’s important to know the best method to ensure the spears are squeaky clean without going overboard. Ultimately, it all comes down to water.

Before you even begin washing, give each spear a gentle snap at the bottom — or use a vegetable peeler to trim the woody parts. The fibrous ends will naturally break off, leaving you with the tender, flavorful part of the stalk. Now you only have to clean the part of the asparagus that you plan to cook and eat. Next, give your asparagus a good rinse under cold water to remove any dirt and unwanted hitchhikers. Using cold water will also ensure that you do not accidentally kick-start the cooking process for the delicate vegetable.

Pull out cleaning tools if necessary

fresh asparagus with lemon

Simply rinsing with water ensures that your asparagus is perfectly prepped, but don’t be afraid to use your fingertips to gently rub the spears to dislodge any debris too. If your asparagus is particularly dirty or gritty, you can give it a gentle scrub with a vegetable brush or cloth if you have it on hand; just be sure to handle the spears with care to avoid damaging their delicate skin.

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Once the asparagus has been prepped and rinsed, use a clean towel to pat the spears dry. Best of all, you can store your cleaned asparagus in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel or cloth. This will help keep them fresh and crisp until you’re ready to cook without having to immediately use the asparagus. But, if you wait too long, be sure to check for spoilage before cooking. With these tips and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll have perfectly clean asparagus ready to steam, shave, or roast in no time.

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