Asparagus is in season in the Pacific NW and this is the perfect time to make pickled asparagus. It’s a great condiment with charcuterie, cheese, Bloody Mary’s, and makes an excellent gift.
However, unless you’ve been lucky enough to score good canning lids online or have leftovers from last year, they’ve become a valuable commodity. Raise your hand if the thought of not finding lids in the middle of tomato season stresses you out. (Preparing for the season by knowing how much you need to preserve helps.)
I recently asked Jeanne Brandt at OSU Extension in Linn/Benton county if she’s heard anything from Ball. Word on the street is they’re expecting normal production late-April through May, but what does normal look like? Products are slowly starting to appear on store shelves, but seem to sell out fast.
University of Wisconsin-Madison recently shared information on lids and home food preservation in an article called Put a Lid on It! (I love this name!)
“By far the most important step in safe home canning is to follow an up-to-date, research tested recipe. Research-tested recipes recommend metal 2-piece lids for home canning. Two-piece lids are sold to fit regular and wide-mouth glass canning jars and are made up of a flat metal lid and a metal screw band. The lid contains a sealing compound that, when properly used, softens during the canning process and forms an airtight seal as the container cools.”
We know this. But they go on to say, and pay attention, because this is important:
“Are reusable lids safe for home-based canning? Recent research suggests that reusable lids such as the Tattler-brand* will safely seal jars when used for home-based canning. This type of reusable lid is used with a thin rubber gasket. A metal screw band is also needed during canning!”
They share helpful advice on using and maintaining lids and gaskets too.
In the meantime, if you have lids, try this tasty pickled asparagus recipe I adapted from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Zeidrich. Betsy, one of our amazing certified Master Food Preserver volunteers, introduced this flavor combination using lemon and rosemary in her pickled asparagus and it was a hit. I have to share it with y’all. For details on how to preserve these beauties and other pickled goodness, refer to the Pickling Vegetables publication PNW355.
Lemon Rosemary Pickled Asparagus-
- 5 large cloves of garlic
- 30 black peppercorns
- 1/2teaspoon hot pepper flakes
- 5 small sprigs of rosemary
- 5 slices of lemon
- About 3 pounds of washed asparagus, trimmed to fit into 12-ounce jelly jars
- 2 1/2 cups white vinegar 5% acidity
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar
- Divide the garlic, peppercorns, pepper flakes, rosemary, and lemon slices among 5 12-ounce jelly jars. Pack the asparagus vertically in hot jars with the tips down. (It makes them easier to remove from the jar later.)
- In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Using a funnel, carefully pour boiling vinegar brine over the asparagus, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace.
- Wipe the tops of the jar w a damp paper towel or cloth until clean and place two-piece lids and rings on jar, and close finger tight. Do not over tighten.
- Process in a boiling water canner:
- 10 minutes for 0-1000Ft elevation
- 15 minutes for 1001- 6000ft elevation
- 20 minutes above 6001ft elevation
The sun is out, the birds are singing, and asparagus is growing. Let’s embrace the season!
And as always my friends, keep up the good work. You’re doing a great job!
Stay curious and be excellent to each other.
Buffy Rhoades| mom. forager. gardener. volunteer turned program assistant. a real busy beaver