Even though it’s available all year long, asparagus can easily be considered the star of the spring season -- that's when it tastes the best. Steamed, boiled, sauteed, roasted, grilled -- asparagus takes on different qualities, however you cook it. Roasting and grilling turns asparagus almost sweet. Steamed or boiled, asparagus retains the vegetable's natural flavor. But for most preparations, choose tender spears -- but in some cases thicker ones will stand up better to cooking methods like grilling. Pencil-thin spears are even great raw or blanched -- use them in salads or serve them as an appetizer alongside a dip of your choice.

In case you're wondering where asparagus comes from, it's actually related to the lily. The spears emerge from a rhizome below the soil level and are harvested typically thin and young (see how asparagus is grown here). Mediterranean in origin, asparagus is now grown in almost every corner of the world, including Mexico, Peru, China, and Chile, and then shipped to supermarkets everywhere. But you’ll never find fresher, tastier stalks than those sold in your local farmers' markets.

What's your favorite way to enjoy asparagus? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Slow Butter Braised Asparagus

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  • Spring Pizza

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/29/spring-pizza_n_1311440.html" target="_hplink">Spring Pizza</a> recipe</strong>

  • Bacon Wrapped Caramelized Sesame Asparagus

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/04/bacon-wrapped-caramelized-sesame-asparagus/" target="_blank">Bacon Wrapped Caramelized Sesame Asparagus recipe from How Sweet It Is</a></strong>

  • Asparagus Soup With Parmesan Shortbread Coins

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-soup-with-parme_n_1061056.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Shortbread Coins</a> recipe</strong>

  • Asparagus With Young Garlic And Horseradish

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/17673-asparagus-with-young-garlic-and-horseradish" target="_blank">Asparagus with Young Garlic and Horseradish from Food52</a></strong>

  • Asparagus With Egg, Parmesan And Lemon

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://arcticgardenstudio.blogspot.com/2013/03/asparagus-with-egg-parmesan-and-lemon.html" target="_blank">Asparagus with Egg, Parmesan and Lemon recipe from Arctic Garden Studio</a></strong>

  • Asparagus And Tomato Salad With Feta

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-and-tomato-sala_n_1061285.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus and Tomato Salad with Feta</a> recipe</strong>

  • Bacon, Egg And Asparagus Personal Pizzas

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/05/bacon-egg-asparagus-personal-pizzas/" target="_blank">Bacon, Egg and Asparagus Personal Pizzas recipe from How Sweet It Is</a></strong>

  • Smoky Pickled Asparagus

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/4017-smoky-pickled-asparagus" target="_blank">Smoky Pickled Asparagus recipe from Food52</a></strong>

  • Bulgur Salad with Spinach, Pine Nuts and Asparagus

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://bevcooks.com/2012/06/bulgur-salad-with-spinach-pine-nuts-and-asparagus/" target="_blank">Bulgur Salad with Spinach, Pine Nuts and Asparagus recipe from Bev Cooks</a></strong>

  • Indian Lentil Saute with Kale and Asparagus

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://bevcooks.com/2012/05/indian-lentil-saute-with-kale-and-asparagus/" target="_blank">Indian Lentil Saute with Kale and Asparagus recipe from Bev Cooks</a></strong>

  • Roasted Asparagus And Goat Cheese Tarts

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/roasted-asparagus-and-goa_n_1057518.html" target="_hplink">Roasted Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tarts</a> recipe</strong>

  • Shaved Asparagus And Mint Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/11674-shaved-asparagus-and-mint-salad" target="_blank">Shaved Asparagus and Mint Salad recipe from Food52</a></strong>

  • Asparagus With Curry Butter

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-with-curry-butt_n_1061898.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus with Curry Butter</a> recipe</strong>

  • Seared Salmon With Mushrooms And Asparagus Over Coconut Noodles

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://bevcooks.com/2013/03/seared-salmon-with-mushrooms-and-asparagus-over-coconut-noodles/" target="_blank">Seared Salmon with Mushrooms and Asparagus Over Coconut Noodles recipe from Bev Cooks</a></strong>

  • Miso Ginger Asparagus

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.steamykitchen.com/20068-miso-ginger-asparagus-recipe.html" target="_blank">Miso Ginger Asparagus recipe from Steamy Kitchen</a></strong>

  • Spring Risotto Of Asparagus, Peas And Ramps

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/11641-spring-risotto-of-asparagus-peas-ramps" target="_blank">Spring Risotto of Asparagus, Peas and Ramps recipe from Food52</a></strong>

  • Asparagus-Cheese Tartines

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-cheese-tartines_n_1058207.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus-Cheese Tartines</a> recipe</strong>

  • Asparagus Spears Dressed in Salty Butter with Soft-Boiled Eggs

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-spears-dressed-_n_1057639.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus Spears Dressed in Salty Butter with Soft-Boiled Eggs</a> recipe</strong>

  • Asparagus Rolls With Prosciutto

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-rolls-with-pros_n_1057301.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus Rolls with Prosciutto</a> recipe</strong>

  • Asparagus Frittata

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-frittata_n_1057487.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus Frittata</a> recipe</strong>

  • Asparagus With Shallot-Caper Vinaigrette

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-with-shallot-ca_n_1060889.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus with Shallot-Caper Vinaigrette</a> recipe</strong>

  • Asparagus With Sesame Vinaigrette

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-with-sesame-vin_n_1056999.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus with Sesame Vinaigrette</a> recipe</strong>

  • Grilled Asparagus Salad With Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/grilled-asparagus-salad-w_n_1059867.html" target="_hplink">Grilled Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette</a> recipe</strong>

  • Potato, Asparagus And Mushroom Hash

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/29/potato-asparagus--mushr_n_1311435.html" target="_hplink">Potato, Asparagus and Mushroom Hash</a> recipe</strong>

  • Chile-Spiced Asparagus

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/chile-spiced-asparagus_n_1049483.html" target="_hplink">Chile-Spiced Asparagus</a> recipe</strong>

  • Asparagus And Radish Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus--radish-salad_n_1061909.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus and Radish Salad</a> recipe</strong>

  • Creamy Asparagus Pasta

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/creamy-asparagus-pasta_n_1049506.html" target="_hplink">Creamy Asparagus Pasta</a> recipe</strong>

  • Lemon Lovers' Asparagus

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/lemon-lovers-asparagus_n_1049482.html" target="_hplink">Lemon Lovers' Asparagus</a> recipe</strong>

  • Asparagus and Goat Cheese Souffles

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-goat-cheese-sou_n_1062384.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus and Goat Cheese Souffles</a> recipe</strong>

  • Asparagus With Anchovies And Garlic

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-with-anchovies-_n_1049484.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus with Anchovies and Garlic</a> recipe</strong>

  • Shaved Raw Asparagus With Parmesan Dressing

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/shaved-raw-asparagus-with_n_1058678.html" target="_hplink">Shaved Raw Asparagus with Parmesan Dressing</a> recipe</strong>

  • Smoky Glazed Asparagus

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/smoky-glazed-asparagus_n_1058691.html" target="_hplink">Smoky Glazed Asparagus</a> recipe</strong>

  • Pickled Asparagus

  • Asparagus Baked Eggs

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