Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pickled Asparagus

Recipe From: Periscilla

Yield: 6 pints

10 pounds fresh asparagus
6 large garlic cloves
6 small hot peppers (optional) or 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (equally optional)
3 teaspoons dill seed
½ cup canning or pickling salt (NOT table salt)

4½ cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
4½ cups water

Step 1 - Selecting the asparagus. The most important step! You need asparagus that are FRESH and crisp. Limp, old asparagus will make nasty tasting canned asparagus.Select firm, crisp asparagus. Remove and discard any soft, diseased, spotted and bug-chewed asparagus. About 4 pounds of asparagus makes about 8 pints of pickled asparagus.

Step 2 - Prepare the jars and canner. Wash the jars and lids. Get the canner heating up.

Step 3 -Wash the asparagus! Scrub the asparagus in plain cold or lukewarm water using your hands or a vegetable brush.

Step 4 - Trim the ends and cut into smaller pieces. Cut stems from the bottom to leave spears with tips that fit into the canning jar with a little less than ½-inch headspace

Step 5 -Wash and peel the garlic! Peel and wash garlic cloves. Place a garlic clove at the bottom of each jar.

Step 6 - Pack the asparagus into the jars. Place the whole trimmed asparagus upright in jars, leaving ½-inch of headspace. Trim the asparagus to ensure proper fit, if necessary.

Step 7 - Make the Pickling Solution
In an 8-quart (or larger) pot, combine the
3 teaspoons dill seed
½ cup canning or pickling salt (NOT table salt)
4½ cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
4½ cups water
Bring to a boil. Place one hot pepper, or a few flakes (if either is used) in each jar over asparagus spears.

Step 8 - Pour the pickling solution into the jars
Use a ladle or pyrex measuring cup to carefully fill each packed jar with the hot vinegar solution, again allowing ½-inch headspace. The asparagus should be covered and there should still be 1/2 inch of airspace left in the top of each jar.

Step 9 - Put the lids and rings on
Put the lids on each jar and seal them by putting a ring on and screwing it down snugly (but not with all your might, just "snug").

Step 10 - Put the jars in the canner and the lid on the canner (but still vented)
Using the jar tongs, put the jars on the rack in the canner. Make sure there is enough water that the pot won't boil dry (usually 4 inches is plenty, but always use the directions that came with the canner as the guide!

Step 11 - Process for 17 minutes for pint jars - 30 minutes for quart jars

Step 12 - Remove the jars. Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a wooden cutting board or a towel. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it.

Allow pickled asparagus to sit in processed jars for

3 to 5 days before consumption for the flavor to develop!

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