Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

May 16, 2008

2008 Asparagus

It's that time of year again. Asparagus season. It took forever getting here too! This spring has been one of the weirdest that we can remember, although strangely, no one seems to be noticing it, at least in our neighborhood. I can tell that it is an "in tune" with the earth thing because I finally found someone who gets it too; the farmer at our closest you-pick-it farm. He told us last weekend that the asparagus has been slow to come in this year because of the roller coaster hot/cold weather we've had. Either way, last weekend we made two trips, (Fri and Sat) to the farm to pick a bunch of sweet, tender asparagus.
Here is only a part of the total haul. All told we had over ten pounds of raw asparagus. We brought it home and let it soak for probably a little longer than we had too, but it was in cold water and it kept itself well.
Look at that color! It was, no kidding, the most vibrant green I can imagine. After rinsing and trimming, we shocked the young greens in boiling water. We added 1 lb of shoots to a large pot of water and timed it for 1 min. After the minute passed I pulled them out and they went straight into an ice bath to stop the cooking. We took them from there and layed them out on some paper towels and blotted them off.
Here is a picture of Amber vacuum packing one of the 1/2 lb bags of asparagus that we made. I need to diverge into another product review here.
We bought this small light duty vacuum packer a while back. It is battery operated, and uses a special zip lock bag that has a vented hole built in. We decided to purchase ourselves a Food saver Vacuum Sealer this year. We know that we are going to be putting up more food, and thought we could justify a little expense for that reason. Well let me tell you, we got that thing home, followed the instructions and gave it a whirl. it vacuumed that bag tight, everything looked great, and then... no seal. ??? What's up? We tried that thing 9 ways from Sunday and couldn't get it to seal worth a damn. So guess what we ended up using? That's right, the 15 odd dollar battery operated model with the special zip locks and it worked great! Go figure?

Here is the total haul from one weekend of putting up asparagus. finished weight is approximately 9 pounds. Guess what we spent on it? 10.00 for the asparagus (1.00/lb) and a few bucks for the bags. Can you beat that? I don't think so. If you have U-pick-it's near you I encourage you to get to them and see if they have asparagus ready, it's one of the real prizes of the spring. It's also one of the crops that, although we love it, we will not grow. It takes too long to mature and takes up too much space for our small lot. I rather go down to the farm stand and pick it myself. Besides, it's a great Saturday morning out with the kids and A~.
Hope you all have a great day tomorrow, I'll be finishing my fence. Pictures anyone?
Till then.


ruralaspirations said...

That is very intersesting. How long will the asparagus keep that way? do you freeze it?

P~ said...

Good questions! Yes I do freeze them, (Duh I should've mentioned that, thanks for keeping me honest.) They should last at least 8-9 months with little/no quality loss. The really big key is just to quickly blanch(1-2 min Max depending on size.). The first year we did this, they were a little to mushy after defrosting and reheating but still tasted great. Small batches make all the difference. We hope to put up enought to last us through the year and leave us hungry for it again next spring.

ruralaspirations said...

Thanks! So then is the vacuum packing a way of saving space in the freezer? or does it extend the shelf life.

silverstarsanctuary said...

Yum! I hope to put more asparagus in next year. I only have a few stalks this year but then purchased some local asparagus and used the food saver system I borrowed from my Dad. Hope they freeze ok. :)

P~ said...

Yes, exactly! As with all preserving of food, oxygen is the one of the biggest enemies. It also helps prevent freezer burn and ice crystals that could damage the quality of the product.

Ananda Devika said...

I copied you, sir - I got asparagus from our food coop this week and rushed right out and bought one of those Reynolds food sealers. What a handy little device - thanks for the inspiration! ;)

P~ said...

Ananda, Great to hear from you again! I'm glas I was of some help. Isn't that little device the best. We did another couple of bags just today as a matter of fact.

Anonymous said...

Here is something you may find interesting, aparagus grows wild along the roadways as well as abadoned railroad tracks all around here in Ohio. So right, it was very slow coming up this year and the temperature caused it to be a bit tough in the beginning, now good, but about seasoned out. I've preserved it the way you said for years and you are direct on. I use a foodsaver vacuum packer, since I do a lot of other gathering, such as deer, rabbits, squirrel, garden, etc. Works GREAT, last til next season and beyond. Try hunting asparagus, you may be pleasantly surprised, what you may find.