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One of my favorite things about spring is watching the tops of the asparagus poke up through the soil. Because I know that means that I’m not too far away from eating that asparagus that is poking up through the soil. Grilled asparagus, bacon wrapped asparagus, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, Steamed Asparagus with Balsamic Vinaigrette, pickled asparagus…the list could go on for days.
And while I prefer to eat my asparagus fresh in the spring, it’s nice to have some available for other times of the year. We typically serve it canned at Thanksgiving and Christmas as a special treat and at other times when cravings hit, so I don’t can huge amounts of asparagus like I do, say, tomatoes for instance. 🙂 So today, I thought I’d teach you how to can asparagus.
For canning asparagus, you need to have about 2-ish pounds per pint jar. You can either buy it all at once from your local farmers’ market, or you can harvest your own as you get it. Fresh asparagus from your garden will keep for 10-14 days in the fridge if you put it upright in a glass of water. If you get it at the store it will last about 5-7 days.
Because we like the tall spears, I use 1 ½ pint jars so I don’t have to cut so much off of the ends. 1 ½ pints are the same size around as the pint jars, they’re just taller. So they use the same amount poundage wise as the pints.
If you are new to canning, or need a refresher, you can learn all about canning here.
Here’s What You Need for Canning Asparagus
Fresh asparagus spears
Canning jars (pints, 1 ½ pints, or quarts)
New lids (If you are using the Tattler reusable lids, make sure you follow the directions that came with them.)
Sea salt (optional)
To prepare the asparagus, wash them in a sink of cold water by swishing them back and forth. Now, bend the spears near the bottom until they snap in two. This separates the “woody” part of the stem from the tender part. Don’t throw those ends out, though. Toss them in the freezer for later.
You need to measure the height of the jars you will be using. You need a 1 inch headspace, so your spears need to be an inch shorter than the jars. So put the spears on a cutting board and measure them. Cut the stem off so they are the correct length. You can add those pieces to the ends you snapped off in the step above. Use them later to make Creamy Asparagus Soup.
You can raw pack or hot pack your asparagus spears. I prefer the raw pack method for canning asparagus.
Here’s how you raw pack asparagus
Before you begin, make sure your jars are clean and hot, and your lids are prepared according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Pack the spears into the clean, hot jars as tightly as you can. The spears will shrink up dramatically, so really pack ‘em in there. If you are canning asparagus pieces pack them as tightly as you can leaving 1 inch of headspace.
Now fill the jar with boiling water, again leaving 1 inch of headspace. Add salt if desired, using ½ tsp for pints and 1 ½ pints, and 1 tsp for quarts.
Wipe the rim with a clean, dry cloth. Now seat the lid and put on the ring, tightening just until finger tight. Fill and close the remaining jars. Place the jars in the canner, adding the amount of hot water appropriate for your canner.
Secure the canner lid, turn on the heat, and vent for the amount of time specified for your canner. Place the weight on the vent and bring up to pressure. If you are using a dial gauge canner, process at 11 pounds pressure for 30 minutes for pints; 40 minutes for 1 ½ pints and quarts. If you are using a weighted gauge canner, use the 10 pound weight and process for the same length of time. Don’t forget to adjust for your altitude if necessary.
After processing allow the canner to cool down. Remove the jars and put them on towels in a draft free location to cool. After a minimum of 12 hours, check the seals, make a cool label with the contents and the date, and put them in your pantry. Now stand back and admire your handiwork!
More canning recipes you should try: