I love veggies. I mean it would be tough to be veganish and not adore vegetables (let’s just pretend that eggplant is a toxin because save eggplant, I love all veggies-I hate, no loathe, eggplant); but veggies pickled? Well that has to be about as close to bliss as one can get eating summer food straight from a jar in the off season (if mine last that long).
My day job is as project director at a public relations firm, this past winter we retained a client called The Canning Diva. She came to our first meeting with a jar of salsa and even if she walked out the door as a client tomorrow, I would remain close friends with her. She’s “good people” as my friend Josh Hiller would say. I’ve drank the Kool Aid. I now measure and use ratios in the kitchen. The Canning Diva makes canning accessible and dare I say fun. She teaches preservation methods to all from novices to seasoned veterans and everyone in between, her enthusiasm for the art of canning is frankly unmatched. I mean she is TRULY excited about preserving food as art.
About a month ago, I invited The Canning Diva to my book group (we stopped reading books like years ago) and we created all sorts of delish cocktail delights like pickled Brussels sprouts, carrots, and asparagus; a session from which all members left feeling confident, inspired, and maybe a little drunk…we had to TRY the cocktail pickles The Canning Diva brought that showed us our finished product- I mean it was absolutely necessary we know what we were getting ourselves into, right? Sidebar: do not even get my friend Julie talking about the dry wine pickled garlic cloves…she might be having a love affair with them. They are exceptional.
I held off experimenting with pickling until Michigan asparagus came into season at my fave local farm, Krupp Farms, whereupon my gal pal Jen, her mom, Mrs. Jen, and I decided to take a cloudy summer Saturday and turn in into a canning extravaganza! We canned over 140 jars of delish summer surprises in one very full day.
While my goodies sit on a shelf, waiting to “cure”, I leave you with one of my favorite things to come out of a jar since peanut butter…The Canning Diva’s Pickled Asparagus recipe. I’ll share the strawberry recipes we worked on soon too.
The Canning Diva says: a great side to a frothy beer or an excellent alternative to celery in a Bloody Mary! If you would prefer a non-alcoholic splendor, they taste excellent in a salad or an addition to a relish tray.
- 7 lbs asparagus
- 5 cups white vinegar
- 5 cups water
- ½ cup pickling or canning salt
- 6 cloves of garlic, whole
- ½ tsp dill seed
- ½ tsp mustard seed per jar
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes per jar
As usual, prepare all of your jars ahead of time and have your lids and rings setting in boiled water. If you don’t know how to do this…please, get with Diane, AKA The Canning Diva at one of her Canning 101 classes offered in GR. It will open a whole new world to you for food preserving and SAVING MONEY by preserving the summer harvest.
In a large stainless steel stock pot, combine vinegar, water and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Place a garlic clove, ½ tsp dill seeds, ½ tsp of hot pepper flakes and ½ tsp mustard seeds in each jar. Raw pack the asparagus into each jar leaving a generous ½” head space.
Ladle hot liquid into jars being sure to maintain the ½” headspace. Remove any air bubbles using your canning utensil or the handle of a wooden spoon. Adjust headspace if necessary.
Tip: If you run out of pickling liquid, use half the parts listed above, boil and fill jars accordingly. Never fill your remaining jars with just water – it will lessen the acidic level and cause food to spoil.
Using a warm wash cloth dipped in vinegar, wipe each rim and screw bands. Place lids and rings on each jar and hand tighten. Place jars in water bather and cover with water. Process the jars for 10 minutes. Remember, processing time doesn’t begin until the water is at a full rolling boil.
We canned 10 lbs of asparagus in varying sized jars from pint to half pint, so we doubled this recipe AND then needed an additional recipe of JUST pickling brine so we whipped up 3 brine recipes in all. Super simple to fix a brine error if it happens is what I’m getting at.
Full disclosure: The Canning Diva is one of my clients, I paid for a class as did a bunch of my gal pals about a month ago, then we were unleashed into the world of canning. I wrote this blog to share this info, a divine recipe, and help bring awareness to this craft during the Midwestern summer bounty, not necessarily to promote her business; however, if that also happens…AWESOME because this is a skill I should have learned a long time ago. Thanks Canning Diva!