Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pickled asparagus, or The canner returns!

Oh blast. Here we go again. Like most sequels, this is the part of the story that ends on a low note, prepping the audience for a triumphantly epic third chapter, I hope.
I wish I didn’t want to be a canner. Or, I wish someone would write a canning book just for me. Using Weck jars, a Victorio water bath, and recipes with simple, local ingredients. Instead, I’m constantly corroborating instructions and methods, and solving life and death mathematical equations. It’s like NASA up in herre. Good news is I’m one out of three with my new canning book, The Preservation Kitchen. It’s the Weck jars that are really killing me, mostly because those Weck people have provided absolutely no information on pickling and I was left to the deep dark void of the third and fourth pages of a fruitless google search.
The result: my first canning fail. One jar of my first batch of pickled asparagus didn’t seal. That’s HALF of the batch. (I’m taking artisanal, small-batch canning to a whole new level.) 
The process was clearer than the Peach Panic of 2011, hot packing being the only method available to the pickle maker (no floating issues yet this year). And the faulty jar, now rescued to the fridge, provides the upside that I can try Paul Virant’s accompanying recipe for how to use pickled asparagus this weekend without breaking into my winter “store.”  
The pickles themselves are strong. They don’t taste briny so much as BAM! PICKLE! Though quite acetous on their own, I’m confident they will lend a bright bite to future collaborative dishes.  
Dill! King of Herbs is praised on high in our home right now. (Mind you, he took the thrown from his brother Basil, the rightful heir who, townsfolk whisper, returneth on swift winds.)
Pickling might not have gone super smoothly, but our recon cheeseburger consumption at Owen and Engine certainly did.  Meat: 1, Veg:…also 1.  (NASA-level math abilities, I’m telling you.)


  1. I am envious of your canning adventures. I cannot make myself go there yet. Maybe it is the thought of all that stress combined with two five year olds running amok while it all happens. How did those pioneer women do it?

    Asparagus looks worth waiting for. Do we get to sample? I can trade in corn ice cream...

  2. I'm more impressed than envious. However, tonight I'm taking my third stab at homemade digestive biscuits--an endeavor sure to perk up Knightley's ears. Thanks again.

  3. Hi there, this is a really nice post about asparagus. It would be great if you linked to it in my Food on Friday series. This week it is about all things asparagus. Food on Friday