One of the reasons I do not grow asparagus is because it takes 2-5 years to produce. Maybe I am just lazy in that aspect, but it is just easier for us to buy it in bulk and can it from home. Recently my neighbor brought us a big box of frozen asparagus. The tips and ends already cut. I don’t know about other canners out there, but seeing a box of vegetables like that is like Christmas morning for me! I get super excited.
Below I am going to walk you through the steps I use to can asparagus for our family and our food storage. If you have any questions or tips, feel free to leave them in the comment section. (Links added to article are the equipment I personally use and am satisfied with.)
Safety First and Following your manual~ If you lost your manual and have not read it, I suggest doing so before doing any canning. Safety always comes first. Presto Canner Instruction Manuals. All American Instruction Manuals. (I personally own and use the All American Pressure canner. I have never had to replace it.)
- Pressure Canner ~ Not a water bath canner! Asparagus, like most other vegetables, does not have enough acidity in it to prevent the growth of bacteria. The temperature of a water bath canner does not get high enough to kill the bacteria spores. (Note: If you are pickling the asparagus then a water bath canner is safe to use.)
- Canning Utensils ~ For grabbing hot jars etc…
- Large Pot ~ For boiling water.
- Ladle ~ To spoon boiling water into the jars.
- Canning Jars ~ I use pint-sized jars but you can also use quart size jars if you have a larger family. We have 2 adults and 2 kids in our home and the pint size seems to work fine for portions.
- Salt ~ One teaspoon per quart size jar or 1/2 teaspoon per pint. Salt is optional.
- Asparagus ~ 10 pounds is a guess as to what we had and it made ten pint size jars.
Preparations ~ In other words, get your work station ready!! Wipe down and sanitize all counter tops, tables and stove tops. Fill your large pot with water and set it on low heat so it can begin to boil as you get your jars packed. Put 2-3 inches of water in your pressure cooker and set that to low as well so it doesn’t boil down dry. If it does boil down simply add hot tap water so your water level is at 2-3 inches again. Place your jars in the dishwasher to clean and sanitize your jars. Leave them in there on the heated dry cycle so the jars stay hot. If you do not have a dishwasher then you will have to do it the old-fashioned way.
Prepping your asparagus ~ Wash your asparagus with cool water. Break/cut off the tough bottom piece of the stem and then wash again.
Cut~ Using a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, snip the asparagus into 1 inch pieces similar to the size of canned green beans. Another option is to cut them into spears to fit your jar making sure to leave 1 inch head space. (Tip: I usually turn up the water at this time to get the rolling boil process closer to done.)
Packing your jars~ Fill your jars with the raw asparagus leaving one inch head space. There is no need to cook these before hand. The temperature from the pressure canner will do that. Tap the asparagus down on the table to get a tighter pack. You can also push it down as well. Just make sure not to squish it to tight. Add Salt to the jars at this time.
Adding water~ Ladle boiling water into each jar still leaving a one inch head space.
Seal the jar~ Put on your lids and rings tightening the seals finger tight.
Add to pressure canner~ Your water level should be at 3 inches before doing this and if not add some hot tap water. At this time, assuming your water is still boiling, use your jar tongs to gently place the jars on the canner rack. Once your canner is full, place the lid on and twist into place leaving the regulator weight off at this time. Turn on high heat. Let canner vent steam for a full ten minutes. Begin timing when it is at a full steady stream of steam.
After Venting~ After the full ten minutes, add the weight regulator to the valve on ten. Allow pressure to build to 10 pounds or the pounds according to the chart below for your area.
Below is a process chart to follow according to your area:
Once the gauge hits 10 pounds, (or recommended pressure by chart) start your timer going for 30-40 minutes. Make sure to adjust the heat level to maintain the amount of pressure suggested. Once you are adjusted, your gauge should rattle once or twice every minute.
When Processing Is Over~ When your timer goes off, turn off the heat under the cooker and let your canner cool until the pressure drops to zero by itself. This could take up to an hour. Do not open the vent!! If the pressure drops to fast you will lose liquid from the jars. (I made this mistake a lot before I learned that trick.) Once the pressure drops to zero, begin opening the canner by lifting the lid from the back first away from your face.
Remove the Jars~ After removing the lid, use your jar lifter to remove the jars carefully and place them on a towel making sure not to touch/bump the jars together. Do not touch until completely cool. (usually over night) Once your jars are cooled you can check to see if they sealed by pressing down on the middle of the lid.