Good asparagus stands straight; the overlapping leaves that form its crown are packed tight. Asparagus will stay fresh for days if you keep the stalks moist. Look for a jar that can accommodate the whole bunch, put a crumpled paper towel on the bottom, and pour water about an inch high over it. Moisten another sheet of paper towel, wrap it around the asparagus bunch, and stand the bunch upright inside the jar. Refrigerate for up to a week before prepping and cooking.

Thin asparagus is what you want when you are cutting up for a pasta sauce, perhaps one with cream and prosciutto, or adding it to a vegetable soup, or using in a risotto. You can then discard most of the stalk, which is too thin to peel and too tough to crew.

*(From the book, “Ingredienti: Marcella’s Guide to the Market” by Marcella Hazan & Victor Hazan)*