Storing asparagus can be tricky, especially if you do not wish to freeze it, or don’t have enough room in the freezer for your bumper crop. If you are looking for asparagus storing and preserving techniques, why not have a look into how to can asparagus to store it?
What You'll Learn Today
How Can I Can Asparagus?
This processing method will keep your asparagus crisp and delicious for months, or even years.
All you need are some wide mouthed Mason jars (these are the best as they are strong enough to withstand the heating process, and have a good wide mouth so that getting the asparagus out again is not a problem).
The two methods of canning are known as hot pack and cold pack, and both are just as effective as preserving methods, so it is down to personal taste.
Hot pack method
- Trim your asparagus so they are all roughly the same length, and remove any hard woody bits from the ends of the stems.
- Blanch the spears in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then pack them tightly into your mason jars.
- It will be tricky to handle the stems as they will be slightly floppy, but the trick is to pack the jars as full as possible.
- Once full of asparagus, pour boiling water over the asparagus, leaving one inch of head space.
- Next, place the jars into a canner, or alternatively a pan of boiling water, with the lids on loosely.
- Once they have boiled for about 20 minutes, remove them from the pan or canner and screw the lids on tightly.
- Label the jars with the date, so you know when they were sealed.
Cold pack method
- Trim your asparagus as before, removing any dried or hard areas.
- Pack as many asparagus stems into each jar as you possibly can – remember that the canning process will shrink them slightly.
- Pour boiling water over the asparagus, leaving one inch of head space.
- Add the jars to a pressure canner if you have one, or boil the jars in a pan with their lids loosened for around 20 minutes.
- Screw the lids on tightly, and allow the jars to cool to form the tight seal.
- Label the jars so that you know what you have, and when it was canned.
What to do with the leftovers
When you trim your asparagus to fit your jars, you will likely be left with lots of little pieces of the stem that were removed but that are not woody.
You can either compost these pieces, or use them in soups or sauces or other recipes.
This useful article explains the best ways to can your own asparagus.
Does Asparagus Have To Be Pressure Canned?
If you want to store asparagus for a long time, pressure canning really is the best way to do it.
Asparagus is low in acid, which means that it can go off pretty quickly if it is not preserved correctly.
You can, of course, preserve asparagus in a pickling brine, but this will affect the flavour of the asparagus and might change the taste of any recipe you are using it in.
Pressure canned asparagus is more versatile in terms of what you can cook with it, as it doesn’t taste vinegary.
Pressure canning is a great way to preserve large amounts of asparagus for a long time, so you can still enjoy it even out of its growing season.
Is Canned Asparagus Mushy?
Although canned asparagus does not have the same crunch as the fresh kind, it is definitely not mushy!
The hot canning process slightly cooks the stems, and leaving them in their liquid for a long time will definitely affect the texture.
They are softer than their fresh counterparts, but many people really love the slightly softer, chewier texture of the canned variety.
Canned Asparagus Recipes
Canned asparagus can be used in a lot of different ways, either by itself as a starter to dip in things, or as part of a main meal.
You can use canned asparagus as part of a soup, added to fried onion and whatever other veggies you need to use up, with some added stock and blended to a smooth consistency.
Canned asparagus also works really well in pasta dishes; just use the canned asparagus as you would fresh asparagus – just bear in mind that you only need to add it at the last minute.
Quiche is another great recipe to use up canned asparagus; follow the recipe for a fresh asparagus quiche and just substitute canned asparagus.
If you like a casserole then this video is for you:
Canning asparagus is a great way to preserve its flavor as well as its health benefits. Now you know how to can asparagus, you can store your perfect crop, well, perfectly!