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Preparing and preserving asparagus can be done in three ways. After harvesting asparagus, you should wash it and discard any tough bottoms. Next, get rid of the scales that have developed around the bottoms of the spears. A potato peeler works great for this. Finally, decide how you wish to preserve it. Make sure that you refrigerate it as soon as possible until you are ready to use it.
Preparing and Preserving Asparagus Methods
Like most garden vegetables, asparagus freezes well in the home. Make sure to choose young spears for this way of preservation. The steps are really quite simple. Cut all your spears into pieces and divide the pieces so that like sizes are kept together. I cut mine into about 3-inch pieces. Next set a pot of boiling water on the stove top.
Steam-blanch each sized group of cut pieces for 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and place into an ice cold bath to cool. Once the pieces are cool enough to handle simply place into freezer bags. Make sure you remove as much as air as possible and seal. Place the bags into the freezer.
Asparagus must be dried immediately after picking. First, wash, dry, split lengthwise, and chop into 3-inch pieces. Blanch the pieces for 3 to 4 minutes in boiling water. Alternately, you can steam the pieces for around 5 minutes if you prefer steaming over blanching. Finally, drain and place in a dehydrator following the equipment’s instructions or in an oven until completely dry. Use the asparagus in soups and sauces.
When canning asparagus, you should first wash and cut off any tough ends. Asparagus can be canned as whole spears or as pieces. To can whole spears, simply place them upright in boiling water where the water level is just below the tips. Boil for 3 minutes. For pieces, boil 1-inch pieces for 2 to 3 minutes.
Regardless of how you prepare them, whole or pieces, you can them pack them into clean jars at this time. Cover the asparagus with boiling water leaving 1 inch of headspace. Process in a pressure canner only, pints for 30 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes.
If using a weighted-gauge canner
10 lb. at 0-1,000 feet above sea level
15 lb. at higher than 1,000 feet
If using a dial gauge canner:
11 lbs at 0- 2,000 feet above sea level
12 lbs. at 2,001- 4,000 feet above sea level
13 lb. at 4,001- 6,000 feet above sea level
14 lb. at 6,001- 8,000 feet above sea level
15 lb. above 8,000 feet
Preparing and preserving asparagus is easy and by freezing, drying or canning it, you can enjoy your harvest well past its season.Tell me how you go about preparing and preserving asparagus on your homestead. For recipes using asparagus see Simple Asparagus Recipes