How to Peel Asparagus

Peeled Asparagus
Elegant Peeled Asparagus Spears. Molly Watson
  • 01 of 04

    How to Peel Fresh Asparagus

    Asparagus to Peel
    Fresh Asparagus. Molly Watson

    Most recipes for asparagus have you break off and discard the tough or woody ends of the asparagus spears. And that's a quick and easy way to trim asparagus and make sure what ends up on your plate is pleasantly edible. With a tiny bit more effort, however, you can eat most of the stalk and have a more elegant dish to boot.

    Why Peel Asparagus

    Peeling asparagus doesn't just make it prettier—it also makes more of the stalk tender and edible, so if you have the bit of extra time it takes,...MORE it's really the best way to prepare asparagus to eat, even if you're just going to whirl it into a soup or throw it on the grill, since you don't end up tossing out as much fo each spear in preparing it.

    Start with Fresh Asparagus

    No matter how you prepare it, you need to start with fresh asparagus. Look for firm spears with fresh-cut-looking ends and tight, compact heads. Eschew any mushy or wet-looking tips and avoid asparagus with cut-ends that look too dried out with cracks. Like most produce, you want asparagus that feels relatively heavy for its size.


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  • 02 of 04

    Trim the Stem Ends of the Asparagus

    Trimmed Asparagus
    Trimming Asparagus to Peel. Molly Watson

    Line the asparagus up so the ends are even. Use a sharp knife to cut off the bottom inch or so of the asparagus spears.

    You want to get rid of the cut part of the asparagus that has dried out a bit since it was harvested. If you're lucky enough to have asparagus freshly harvested from the garden, you can probably skip this step. You can also use this step to make sure you have evenly sized asparagus spears that will look as elegant as possible when they're all done.

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  • 03 of 04

    Peel the Asparagus Spears

    Peeling Asparagus
    Peeled Asparagus Spear. Molly Watson

    Working with one spear at a time, lay a spear on a flat surface and hold the tip. You may be able to hold thicker spears in your hand, like peeling a carrot, but thinner spears will bend under such pressure and laying them flat on a work surface will make your job easier.

    Use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to peel off the skin from the bottom half of each asparagus spear. You want to expose the lighter green and white part of the stems under the peel. 

    Carefully repeat with all the...MORE spears.

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  • 04 of 04

    Peeled Asparagus Spears

    Peeled Asparagus
    Freshly Peeled Asparagus. Molly Watson

    Peeled asparagus spears are ready to cook in the recipe of your choice. Such carefully prepped asparagus is also tasty simply thinly slice and use raw in salads. Peeling asparagus is a great way to ensure even, beautiful, tender asparagus. Use them steamed and dressed, on the grill, or roasted.