Yesterday at the farm, there was an excessive amount of asparagus at the end of the day, so the boss generously gave each employee a 5 pound bag to take home! This stuff could have easily been devoured by my family in no time, but we decided that we might want some later in the year. So we decided to have a pickling party. We got the idea because the farm sells pickled asparagus in pint sized jars and it is amazing! Tonight everyone would be home, so while I was at work, my mother in law ran to the supermarket and picked up the necessary spices. By the time I got home from work, we were ready to dive into our project!
Before we began, we had to be one hundred percent prepared for each step because it is really important when canning/ pickling to not dilly dally. We gathered the jars and lids from the cold room and set them out on the counter. We sterilized the jars and put the lids into a pot of boiling water to sterilize them as well. After this was finished, we set the jars back on the counter and added the correct amount of spice to each one, whole peppercorns, dill seed, mustard seed and 2 cloves of garlic.
At the same time, my father in law was trimming the asparagus to the length of the jar. All of the excess we threw into a pot to use to make soup tomorrow. While we were doing all of this we prepared our brine which needed to come to a boil. The original recipe called for pint jars, but we went with quart sized jar and doubled the recipe. Therefore we boiled about 20 cups of water and 5 cups of white vinegar along with some pickling salt and sugar. We were almost ready to move onto the next step.
Once the brine came to a full boil, we carefully ladled the brine into a jar.
We removed any air that may have snuck into the jar with a knife. Then, my husband grabbed the tongs to remove the lid from the pot of boiling water and placed it onto the jar. Then the rim was screwed on as tight as possible and we inverted the jar. You have to move as quickly as possible to avoid any air getting inside the jar and to prevent any of the heat from escaping from the jar. We continued this process for each jar.
Overall this process was pretty simple, but it just requires one to move quickly. I am eager to continue this process all summer as the goodies from the garden come in daily. All of our seeds have been planted and we are just waiting for all of them to pop up from the ground. I for see many evenings of canning ahead of us! Ah the beauty of making your own food!