Fresh asparagus spears should be steamed for three to five minutes or until they reach the desired tenderness. Personal preferences and the width of the individual spears impact the steaming time.
To steam asparagus spears, first rinse them thoroughly under clear running water and remove the woody base of each spear. Place a steamer basket in a saucepan, add water to just below the bottom of the basket, and bring the water to a boil. Turn the water down, add the asparagus, and steam for three to five minutes. You can use a fork on the thicker ends of the stalks to see if they have reached the desired tenderness.
If your kitchen isn't equipped with a basket steamer, you can steam asparagus spears in the microwave by placing them in a microwave-safe dish with 2 tablespoons of water and microwaving on high for two to four minutes.