At the market: Select bright green asparagus with closed, compact, firm tips.

Storage at home: Keep fresh asparagus clean, cold and covered. Break off or cut the tough ends and wash in warm water several times. Refrigerate in a covered container or plastic storage bag. Use within 2 or 3 days.

Cooking: Asparagus is best cooked quickly to preserve it bright green color and the healthy nutrients. Depending on the thickness, a pound can be microwaved or steamed in 5-8 minutes. For salads or dipping, try blanching asparagus. Simply place stalks in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Remove from boiling water and immerse in cold water.

Serving: Here are a few easy ideas to add asparagus in your meals:

1. Add 1/2 cup of cooked, pureed asparagus to your favorites creamy dip recipe. Serve blanched asparagus on your crudite platter with other veggies.

2. Try cooked, chopped asparagus in egg dishes. Perhaps as a filling for omelets, scrambled in eggs, or added to your favorite quiche recipe.

3. As a side dish, add cooked, diced asparagus to rice or couscous.

4. Chinese stir-fry is better with asparagus. It takes 3-5 minutes to stir-fry asparagus. Replace the broccoli in beef with broccoli with asparagus. Try a scallop, asparagus and bean sprout stir fry, or tofu, asparagus and carrot stir-fry.

5. Add blanched asparagus to any tossed salad. For a more formal salad, marinate blanched stalks in a vinaigrette dressing for 1-2 hours. Serve on a plate. Garnish with chopped chives and roasted red peppers.

6. Grilled asparagus is delicious. Select the larger stalks that are less likely fall into the coals. Even better, your kids can help out by skewering the stalks together to form “rafts”. Simply brush stalks/rafts with olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place straight in the grill for about 10 minutes, turning at least once.

7. Do you have a recipe for zucchini bread? Try replacing shredded asparagus for zucchini in the recipe!