When preparing asparagus for cooking, check for a tough, fibrous inedible portion at the base of each spear. You can cut off the dry, coarse-looking base or simply break off the tough end of each spear by bending it gently until it snaps. It will break precisely where the tender part ends and the tough part begins. If the skin seems thick and tough, use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel the stalk to within about 2 inches of the tip. This will help the asparagus cook more evenly.
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