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.

For most preparations, tender asparagus spears are the way to go -- their delicate texture makes them great for salads and even eaten raw. But the thicker ones do have their place; they stand up better to cooking methods like grilling.

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.

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