Unless you're working with asparagus that's freshly harvested from the garden — and sometimes even then — one must discard the woody, slightly dried out ends for enticingly tender results. The problem is knowing how much to discard in order to waste as little of the oft-pricey vegetable as possible. Conventional wisdom will have you bend each stalk till it snaps, as they're more flexible in their tender parts, but this can become tedious fast. Instead, snap two stalks out of the bundle, line up the remaining asparagus with their tips flush, and cut through with a sharp knife between the snapping point of the two. If your stalks are particularly thick, take a few passes with a vegetable peeler on the ends, otherwise you're good to go whether the asparagus will be blanched, roasted, ribboned, or steamed.