Can Jam Challenge #5
I don’t know what the heck happened to the asparagus this season. Usually, asparagus is $3.99 a pound or HIGHER in Florida, comes from Peru, and tastes like shoelaces. But there’s a small window of opportunity every spring where I can buy it for around $1.49 a pound and I could even drive to where it was grown. It would be a long drive, but I digress.
But this year, NADA. Nature’s french-fries never dropped below $2.50 this year and I was lucky if they came from California. Mostly, it stayed around $3 and up per pound in all my groceries. And there’s no such thing as a “farmers market” that sells organic or local asparagus in Florida.
What the heck happened? Was it the hard winter? Are farmers not growing the stuff? Was there a disease or insect problem? Is there a cycle on production?
And I don’t even want to GO THERE on rhubarb. There was ‘nar a stalk to be found in any of the groceries, and the one rare glimpse I did see, wrapped in styrofoam and cellophane, cost around $7.00 for 5 STALKS!!!
Plus, I don’t like the stuff, so that’s no big loss for me (hee-hee).
So, in keeping with the sprit of local and available ingredients, I’m afraid this month’s Can Jam Challenge will contain a visit from the ghost of post’s past. Besides, I can’t think of anything I would rather do when preserving asparagus than pickle it. It’s my favorite.
Until next year, I guess I’ll have to pickle more cukes!
Recipe source: The Joy of Pickling
Makes 5, 12 oz. jars
3 lbs of fresh asparagus (sometimes I need more or less, depending on spear thickness)
5 garlic cloves, peeled
15 allspice berries
50 black peppercorn berries
20 coriander seeds
Red pepper flakes
2 ½ cups white wine vinegar
2 ½ cups water
2 ½ tsp canning salt
2 T sugar
Trim asparagus to fit inside canning jars, giving ½ inch of space from the tip of the spears to the top of the jar. Prepare jars for hot water bath canning. In a saucepot, mix vinegar, water, salt, and sugar; bring to a boil. When brine has boiled, fill each hot jar with 1 garlic clove, 3 allspice berries, 10 black peppercorns, 4 coriander seeds, a dash or two of the red pepper flakes, and a pinch of nutmeg. Fill jars with asparagus spears, tips up, till comfortably full without packing. Ladle brine into jars, giving ½ inch headspace; top jars with prepared lids, then process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Wait 4-6 weeks before eating.
**Note: If you don't want to process for canning, just pour the hot brine over the asparagus and keep in the refridgerator.