Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Cook Vegetables


How to Cook Asparagus
Asparagus, once an anxiously harbinger of spring, is now available almost year-round. Asparagus is the tender shoot of a perennial vegetable from the lily family.

Try It!
Here is a recipe from our collection that uses asparagus:

Availability: Sporadically all year; peak March
to June.

Buying Guide: Look for firm, straight spears with closed, tightly budded compact tips. The stalks should be crisp not wilted. Buy spears of uniform size to ensure even cooking. Avoid woody, dry stems.

Storage: Stand cut ends in an inch of water or wrap ends in a moist paper towel or cloth; place in a plastic bag, making sure tips stay dry. Refrigerate up to 5 days.

History: Ancient Greeks and Romans believed asparagus could cure toothaches and prevent bee stings. New plants must be nurtured two years before producing a crop.
  1. To prepare asparagus, snap off tough ends of spears where they break easily.

    Snap off the though ends of the spears where they break easily.
    Snap off the tough ends of the
    spears where they break easily.
  2. To prevent tips from cooking faster than stems, peel stem ends with vegetable peeler.

    If you peel the ends slightly, the spear should cook evenly.
    If you peel the ends slightly,
    the spear should cook evenly.

  3. To steam asparagus, rinse asparagus and place in steamer basket. Place steamer basket in large saucepan; add 1 inch of water. (Water should not touch bottom of basket.) Cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; steam asparagus 5 to 8 minutes until crisp-tender. Add water, as necessary, to prevent pan from boiling dry.

    Add water, if necessary, to prevent burning.
    Add water, if necessary,
    to prevent burning
    .

Black-eyed peas are a unique member of the legume family. Find out more about it on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Vegetable Recipes: Both tasty and good for you, vegetables are a great vehicle to try out new seasonings and cooking methods. Find plenty of ideas on our Vegetable Recipes page.
  • Grilling Vegetables: Grilling vegetables is not only easy but it also produces a rich tasting, healthy treat. Learn how to grill vegetables in this article.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

More to Explore