It’s asparagus season in New Jersey!

Forget how thick or thin the stalks are — it’s the method you use to cook these spears that completely changes the way they taste. Steam them in the microwave or on the stove and you’ll get a “green,” grassy flavor. But grill or roast them and you’ll get a more nutty, sweet flavor.

To get started, rinse the asparagus under cold water, trim off the woody ends and try one of these methods:

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Roasting: Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat asparagus dry and place in a baking dish. Coat with oil, then season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until just tender, about 8-12 minutes, depending on the width of your spears.

Steaming: Place asparagus spears in a microwave-safe dish that they fit into. Place damp paper towels over the asparagus: cover. Microwave on high, stirring and checking after each minute, until tender. Serve hot or plunge into an ice bath, if you’re going to serve it chilled.

Keep it fresh!

To keep asparagus fresh and crisp longer, treat it like flowers. Stand the stalks in a container with an inch or two of water at the bottom. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Did you know?

New Jersey ranks fourth in the nation in asparagus production, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

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