It wasn’t so many years ago that asparagus was a sign of spring. Before the transportation side of the produce industry became what it is today the tender green stalks were only available for a brief period of time each year. Imported asparagus is now available year round, but I still think the spring crop is the best.
Look for tight heads in a bright green color. Avoid woody looking stem ends. The thickness of the asparagus is a matter of personal preference and the intended cooking method. I generally steam slender spears, then top them with a little butter and squeeze of lemon juice. When prepared in that manner I think thin asparagus is the most tender and tasty. When I plan to grill or roast asparagus thicker stalks work best, but I try not to get them so thick that peeling the bottom of the stalk is needed. I don’t want to take the time to peel each one.
To trim the ends of the bunch, select a medium sized spear and bend it until the end snaps off. This is usually a good indicator of where the rest of the bunch should be trimmed.