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Buying: People keep debating about whether thick or thin spears are better. I like my asparagus thick. Thin asparagus seems stringy to me. Whichever you pick, make sure the spears in your bunch are all about the same size, so they'll cook evenly.

Look at the tips and make sure they are tight. I've also heard (but never tried it) that if you rub two spears of asparagus together they should squeak. The asparagus should also be juicy. Don't buy spears that are dry or shriveled.

Green or white? White asparagus is actually green asparagus that has never seen the light of day. Either the dirt was purposely mounded over it while it was growing, or it was covered with a box to keep it in the dark. It is more tender and is considered a delicacy in some countries.

Storing: Rinse your asparagus once you get it home, just in case there's any dirt. Trim the ends (this isn't the trimming you do to remove the tough bottom part before cooking). I wrap the tips with plastic, then get a shallow, wide jelly jar or a glass and put two inches of cold water in it. Stand your asparagus up in that glass and put it in the fridge. Other people wrap their asparagus in a damp towel. Eat within a few days.

There is also debate about whether to peel your asparagus or not. I never do.