Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pickling Asparagus with Jessica, the woman who cans everything!

So my niece Jessica, a hippy-dippy, tree-hugger type of young woman calls me and wants to pickle asparagus.  So we made the plan, I got sick and she messages me last night with this, "So how are you feeling?  Do you want to still do asparagus or are you going to just disappoint me terribly?".  Oh for the love of all that is holy.  Really Jessica?  Well, of course I couldn't disappoint her, and she is rather freakin' fun to have around, so I decided some aunt/niece quality time was in store! 

I had picked up my part, tons of garlic and some peppers.  I picked up a Serrano, a Fresno and a jalapeno.  That's right, we don't joke peeps when it comes to spicy kick!  Jessica arrived with her canning garb and 5lbs of asparagus!    She has enough of that stuff to lead one to believe she has been canning 20+ years, and she hasn't barely even been alive much more than that! Jessica is a canning fool and she has kind of got my interest peaked again!

Time to break out the asparagus! We got the tough ends trimmed, and blanched them for literally 1 minute in boiling water.   Also make sure jars are clean and we ran them through the sani wash in the dishwasher to make sure they were good and clean.

We categorized our asparagus by size, "The Talls" and "The Smalls".  Yea, uh huh, bet you wish you were that cool!  We packed those jars like nobody's business.  It reminded me of my mom packing cucumbers in a jar for pickles as a kid.  I swear she could stretch the glass to fit that last one in!!

We ended up filling 3 large jars and 2 small ones!  I believe we used obscene amounts of garlic in each one, we did peppers in most and we even added red pepper flakes as well.  We decided we enjoyed the look of the "floaties".  Red pepper flakes, dill seed and pepper seeds make a great "floaty factor".  At this point she discovered a long wooden spoon, she used to keep smacking me with.  I appreciate it Jess, you know Uncle Geo just doesn't spank ....oh um...never mind.  

Aren't they PRETTY?!?!
Anyway after packing those jars with veggie goodness, Jessica made the brine.  Here is the recipe she followed:

1 1/2 tsp dill seed
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 1/4 cups white vinegar
2 1/4 cups water

Bring to a boil and pour over jars.  You can add a hot pepper in the brine as well, but we just added them in the jars.  Wipe tops clean, put on flats and rings.  Don't tighten TO much!

We processed them for 10 minutes in a large canner.  Took them out, turned them upside down and waited for the popping to begin!!  As we were cleaning up, Jessica pulls out this string.  She informs me it is her "ring string".  I flashed back to my entire childhood of going down the basement stairs hitting my head on my moms "ring string" full of rings, every single time! Here she is, this pic is for my mom.  She has to be so proud to have a canning granddaughter!

I can't WAIT to try these!!  Thanks Jessica for coming over, and I can't wait for our pasta making session coming soon I hope!  I enjoy spending time with you, especially in bars and kitchens. ;) 

For complete canning instructions, not just some random rambling of my afternoon with asparagus, go to Pickled Asparagus!!

Your "omg I am now a canning granny" chefwannabe

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