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Steaming Asparagus Lightly

Posted by Carole Allen on February 17, 2014 at 1:35 PM

How to Steam Asparagus

Edited by Flickety, Teresa, TJean, Gucci One
Asparagus is a delicate vegetable that needs to be cooked gently. Steaming asparagus is the perfect way to preserve its texture and bring out the best in its flavor. Learn how to steam asparagus either on the stove or in the microwave, then serve it with an appropriately light dressing.


Preparing to Steam Asparagus

  1. 1
    Buy fresh asparagus. Asparagus is at its best in early spring, when it starts flooding farmer's markets and grocery stores. No matter when you buy your asparagus, look for stalks that are firm and bright green.

    • Avoid asparagus that is limp or woody in texture. This means it isn't freshly picked, and it won't taste good after it has been steamed.
    • Avoid asparagus with discolored parts or bruises.
    • Frozen asparagus can also be steamed, but the texture won't be quite like steamed fresh asparagus.
  2. 2
    Wash the asparagus. Run the asparagus under cool water and use your fingers to remove any dirt or debris.

  3. 3
    Trim the asparagus. The tough, woody part at the base of the asparagus stem is not as tasty and tender as the top part. Snap it off with your hands or use a knife to chop it off.

    • If you wish, cut your asparagus into bite-sized pieces before steaming.

    • Thick asparagus can be peeled. If the skin seems a little tough, use a potato peeler to remove it.

Steaming Asparagus on the Stove

  1. 1
    Fill a pot with about an inch of water.

    • Place the asparagus in a steamer basket and put it inside the pot.

    • If you don't have a steamer basket, put the asparagus directly in the pot. Make sure you don't add too much water. You only need enough to create steam; otherwise, you'll end up with boiled asparagus.

  2. 2
    Cover the pot with a lid and place it on the stove. Turn the heat to medium high. Let the asparagus steam for 3 minutes.

  3. 3
    Remove the cover and check the asparagus. Steam should rise from the pot when you lift the lid, and the asparagus should look bright green in color. If it is slightly tender when you test it with a fork, it's done.

    • If the asparagus still looks raw and is tough when poked with a fork, let it steam for another few minutes.

    • Don't overcook the asparagus, or it will become limp and mushy and lose its bright flavor.

  4. 4
    Remove the asparagus from heat. Place it in a serving dish and serve hot.

Steaming Asparagus in the Microwave

  1. 1
    Dampen a few paper towels with water. Squeeze out excess water so the towels are moist, but not dripping wet.

  2. 2
    Wrap stalks of asparagus in the paper towels. Grab a good bunch of asparagus and wrap it completely in a towel. Repeat until all of the asparagus has been bundled and wrapped.

  3. 3
    Lay the wrapped asparagus seam side down in the microwave. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

    • Check the asparagus to see if it's ready. If it looks bright green in color and is slightly tender when pierced with a fork, it's done.

    • If the asparagus is still tough when pierced with a fork, microwave it for another minute.

  4. 4
    Remove the asparagus from the microwave. Unroll it from the paper towels, place it in a serving dish, and serve hot.

    • Be careful when removing the asparagus from the paper towels, since it will all be piping hot. Use tongs if necessary.

Dressing Steamed Asparagus

  1. 1
    Toss steamed asparagus in olive oil. Such a light vegetable deserves a light dressing, and olive oil perfectly complements the fresh flavor of steamed asparagus.

  2. 2
    Melt a pat of butter over freshly steamed asparagus. For a richer flavor, you can't go wrong with butter. Either melt a pat of butter directly over the dish of asparagus, or pour some melted butter over the vegetables.

  3. 3
    Add lemon juice or another acid. A squirt of lemon juice brings out the bright spring flavor of asparagus. Another acid flavor, like apple cider vinegar, can also work well.

  4. 4
    Season the asparagus. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and add additional seasonings like garlic powder or dried thyme to complete the dish.

  5. 5

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  Things You'll Need

  • Saucepan or steamer saucepan set
  • Steamer
  • Water
  • Asparagus
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Tongs to move the steamed asparagus onto plates
  • Butter, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper (optional)

  Related wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Fruits and Vegetables
Recent edits by: TJean, Teresa, Flickety
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Categories: Health

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