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Help me get rid of gritty asparagus

So, I have been buying fresh locally grown asparagus at the farmer's market for a few weeks and had an issue last week. I snapped the stems as usual. I immersed them in a large, container. Very little sand on the bottom. I continued to change the water until clean. Just to be sure, I rinsed each one individually under running water.

Then, lo and behold....gritty asparagus. Threw the whole batch out.

Any tricks to doing this? They really didn't look dirty.

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  1. Soak in warm water, not cool or cold. Gritty asparagus is an abomination.

    1. just soaking isn't sufficient to remove any grit that's really clinging to the spears or wedged inside the buds on the tips - you need to agitate them in the water to get those stubborn grains out of there.

      1. I thought that by having them run under warm water, that would do it.

        1. The last batch of asparagus we bought was gritty too ... but we didn't know til we were eating it--crunch crunch crunch. Fearing for my teeth at that point, I tossed it, but the rest of the (uncooked) bunch, we soaked in cool water and rinsed and repeated several times.

          1. Do you have a salad spinner?

            Soak, and then rinse your asparagus, then toss them in a salad spinner and give it a good whirl.

            1. I feel for the OP-I have NEVER come across gritty asparagus. Leeks, yes. Asparagus? WTH?

              3 Replies
              1. re: monavano

                That has not been my experience either, given that the stalks grow straight up, are not blanched like leeks and are not really subject to soil around the bud end. Maybe the soil was wet, weather related, when the stalks sprouted, I don't know; ghg's suggestion for agitation should work just fine.

                1. re: monavano

                  just happened to me for the first time. so disappointing.

                  1. re: Madrid

                    Same here, first time ever last week.

                    Really disgusting to chew on grit. Made sure that the time after that, I rinsed and rinsed in a bowl of cold water to ensure there was no grit...icky!

                2. I just went to a local asparagus farm yesterday and took a tour with the kids. The owner said soaking in warm water (dish water warm... so not lukewarm) for 10-15 min then a rinse would get rid of the grit. Apparently asparagus trap grit when the side leaves open up to catch the rain.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: maplesugar

                    Mystery solved, thanks for that info.

                    1. re: maplesugar

                      Good to know; I figured mother nature had method to her madness.

                    2. It depends on where the asparagus comes from re if it's gritty. If the soil is sandy, you will have gritty asparagus. I grew up in Indiana, where lots of asparagus was grown and sent off to market. It was always sandy. It had to be washed in warm water, agitate very well, change the water at least 3-4 times until there wasn't any sand left in bottom of sink. If cooking in water, when asparagus is done, lift out with tongs and if there is any sand left, it will fall to bottom of pan. Hopefully this will work and help.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: jackie de

                        I live in Indiana, and most of the asparagus I buy at the farmers market is not gritty. Once in a while, though, it is, so I always soak.

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          Yes, and if I remember correctly you live in the Bloomington area, which I'm sure has very different soil from where I was raised. I lived in the farm area of Northwest In. and the sandy soil there was used for the asparagus filelds. Once you got the sand out of it- it had wonderful flavor. Also in that area, it's pretty much always windy which doesn't help when the soil is sandy. I picked asparagus for 7 years when I was a kid. At that time they changed the school hours to accomodate so many of us that got up at 4, went into the fields and worked in the asparagus until 9 or so and then got cleaned up and went to school., I didn't eat asparagus until years later-wonder why?

                          1. re: jackie de

                            You're right: I am in Bloomington.

                          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                            I just had some New Jersey asparagus, and it was terribly gritty. I've never had a lot of luck with the various soaking and washing methods to get the sand out.

                            I often buy the asparagus from Peru when it's on sale, and I've never encountered the sand problem with their asparagus. I wonder how they get around it!

                            1. re: BrightRedMud

                              Just got gritty asparagus at my local farm stand for the first time, I could feel it was gritty so I soaked it but there was still a bit in there. Not enough to keep us from eating it luckily, most came out with the soak.

                        2. According to the chefs at the Ritz in Paris (took a class there) -- you're *supposed to take a knife and slice all the little triangular buds off before rinsing. (pain in the tuchus, though)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Yes, I've read about doing that, but I find that the sand gets integrated into the tips of the asparagus. I've been soaking some today, but very little sand came out. It's stuck in all the folds of the tip and it's not going to budge!

                            1. re: BrightRedMud

                              I had some like that last week. In the end I cut off the heads and ate the rest. Not pretty at all but tasty and I HATE grit in my sparrowgrass.

                          2. Had gritty asparagus at a restaurant yesterday and then cooked my own tonight - after rinsing like crazy - still gritty. I sympathize!

                            1. My current approach is to peel, then soak. Works every time.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pikawicca

                                ...or just don't buy it after a big rain storm.