When harvesting asperagus cut it at an angle at ground level with a very sharp knife. When cooking you must trim the hard (woody) part from the edible portion. Start at the end of the asperagus that you cut using a sharp knife and press on the spear working your way up toward the tip until you get to the soft area. Then cut the spear to seperate the edible section. Discard the woody section. To cook it you can cut the spears into bite size pieces or leave the spear whole. They can be boiled, steamed or just about any way you can think of, but if you over cook them they will be verysoft and mushy. I think they are best when just steames for a couple of minutes and they are still firm.