Friday, March 18, 2011

Asparagus & Rhubarb, Coming in May

For those of us living in these nothern climates, spring is an extremely exciting time.  The autumn fruits aren't what they were a few months ago, prices are up as well. 

We're pretty much down to the root vegetables and winter squash, and lets face it, even the grown-ups aren't thrilled about it.

Seed catalogues are dog-eared and marked throughout with zealous pens and hilighters.  Our exceptionally industrious and frugal neighbors have happily sacrificed a few weeks' use of their kitchen tables and countertops for the promise of good things to come.  

Nasty old man Winter is down for the count and we prepare to dance barefooted upon his blessed slumber.

Ahh, spring.

In May the bright and beautiful rhubarb and asparagus will be in season for us.  Let's plan...

An average of 24-1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts;
an average of 16 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints.
A crate weighs 31 pounds and yields 7 to 12 quarts÷an average of 3-1/2 pounds per quart.
Use tender, tight-tipped spears, 4 to 6 inches long.
Wash asparagus and trim off tough scales.
Break off tough stems and wash again.
Cut into 1 inch pieces or can whole.
Hot Pack:
Cover asparagus with boiling water.
Boil 2 or 3 minutes.
Loosely fill jars with hot asparagus, leaving 1 inch head space.
Raw Pack:
Fill jars with raw asparagus, packing as tightly as possible without crushing, leaving 1 inch headspace.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired.
Add boiling water, leaving 1 inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process.
Recommended Process (Hot and Raw Pack)
1) Dial-gauge Pressure Canner
Pints÷30 minutes 11 PSI Quarts÷40 minutes 11 PSI

2) Weighted-gauge Pressure Canner
Pints÷30 minutes 15 PSI Quarts÷40 minutes 15 PSI

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Also there are some very good, step by step instructions, with illustrations on Pick Your  Try, too, Canning USA.

Use this for asparagus soups and sauces.

A good investment.  These come in different sizes.

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An average of 10½ pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts;
an average of 7 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints.
A lug weighs 28 pounds and yields 14 to 28 quarts—an average of 1½ pounds per quart.

Quality: Select young, tender, well-colored stalks from the spring or late fall crop.

Trim off leaves.
Wash stalks and cut into ½ inch to 1 inch pieces.
In a large saucepan add ½ cup sugar for each quart of fruit.
Let stand until juice appears.
Heat gently to boiling.
Fill jars without delay, leaving ½ inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles.
Wipe jar rims.
Adjust and process.

Recommended Process:
Boiling-Water Bath
Pints or Quarts—20 minutes
Process directions for canning rhubarb in a dial-gauge or weighted-gauge canner are given at the end of this section.

For recipes and links, try these blogs Seasonal Onterio Food and Stocking the Larder.

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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!