food: pickled asparagus

The local farm stand has asparagus for $1.48 a pound, so it’s time to get pickling!

Last year I wasn’t at all certain my asparagus had been pickled right, so I threw it out and later picked up a flier from the county extension booth at the fair. The lady at the booth hadn’t personally pickled asparagus (rats) but at least there was a flier.

Here’s the recipe I used, but by all means check somewhere else for a safe recipe and don’t trust me.

    16 cups asparagus spears or pieces (about 8 pounds raw)
    2 quarts white vinegar (5% acid)
    2 quarts water
    1/4 to 1/2 cup pickling salt
    1 tblsp pickling spice (remove cloves)

    Per jar add 1 to 2 cloves garlic

    Wash asparagus thoroughly in cool water. Cut spears to fit jar leaving one inch head space.

    Combine water, vinegar, salt and pickling spice (tied into a clean, thin white cloth) to make brine. Heat to boiling. Remove bag containing spices.

    Pack asparagus into hot hars with tip ends down. Add garlic to each jar. Cover with boiling brine to within 1/2 inch from top of jar. Adjust lids.

    Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes for pints or quarts, 15 minutes if 1,000 to 6,000 feet elevation.

I don’t think there is an easier vegetable to pickle–you just wash the asparagus and go!

Some fun botulism facts I learned on the web:

There are on average 22 cases of botulism in the U.S. per year. These are from both home canned and factory canned, the collectors of the info did not make a distinction. So as far as averages go, you are more likely to win the lottery!

Botulism is a neuro-toxin and actually starts affecting the way your body works, so it is deadly pretty quickly.

There are no botulism bacteria in the U.K., so their home processing standards are different than the U.S. And don’t follow instructions from foreign books!

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