Spring Bounty: Asparagus

bulk-asparagusAsparagus is one of our favorite spring vegetables. The short season makes us appreciate it all the more. But, by employing one of our recommend preserving methods below, you can enjoy asparagus all summer long and into fall (if yours lasts that long!)

Freeze it.
Pull out a ziptop bag of frozen asparagus spears and steam for a quick side dish, or add to winter soups.

First step, blanch. Blanching the asparagus prior to freezing stops the enzyme process that causes vegetables to lose nutrients and change texture once they are frozen.

Rinse asparagus spears. Cut into ½” pieces. Bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, dump in asparagus pieces. Allow to boil 2-4 minutes. Remove from boiling water and immerse in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Allow pieces to cool, then freeze in a single layer, in the freezer. Once pieces are frozen, store in a zip top bag for up to a year.

spicy-pickled-asparagus

Pickle it.
Perfect for snacking, right out of the jar, or add to salad for a flavorful kick. Jars of Pickled Asparagus will keep in the fridge for up to 30 days…if they last that long!

7 pint jars
5 lbs asparagus
5 c apple cider vinegar
¼ c water
¼ c canning salt
2 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp red pepper flake (optional)
2 tbsp fresh, minced garlic

Trim asparagus just 1” shorter than your canning jars. Pack spears vertically into clean, hot jars.

In a non-reactive pan, combine brine ingredients, the apple cider vinegar through garlic. Bring to a low boil; allow to boil for 5 minutes.

Ladle the brine into the canning jars until the asparagus spears are completely covered, leaving ½ “ headspace between the liquid and top of the jar.

Process for 15 minutes in a water bath canner.

You can adjust the amounts of spices, garlic, and red pepper flakes to make your asparagus more spicy or more mild, as you prefer.

Boil it.
Heavens no…do not boil your asparagus! You’ll end up with an olive-colored mushy mess. After canning 5lbs of asparagus spears, you should 6-8 cups of leftover stalks. Don’t compost them—make stock!

6 c asparagus ends
9 c water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 handful parsley sprigs
1 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients into a 4-qt saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim off any impurities that rise to the top. Turn the heat down to low and cover with lid. Simmer for an hour. Remove from heat and strain. Cool completely before storing. Your veggie stock will keep for about two weeks in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.

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About Anna K Amendolare

Anna, of aka design, is a web designer and digital marketer. She contributes recipes via homeharv.wordpress.com, manages all of the email marketing for HH, and serves as webmaster for Hometown Harvest. When she is not in front of her computer, she enjoys baking, craft beer, and spinning & cycling to burn off those calories.

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