I hope for some of you today brought sunshine and flowers, because for us here on Flathead Lake, MT it marked the beginning of windy rainstorm season. Mother Nature definitely didn't disappoint. The morning was grey and uneventful but sometime mid-afternoon the temperature got up to 55 degrees and a huge grey cloud was headed straight for us. I was cooking dinner when it reached us with winds and heavy rain. It must have been Bomber's first rainstorm because he curled up at my feet, shaking, as I chopped potatoes for spicy fish and potato soup. In less than half an hour the storm had passed and everything was back to normal.
Since I knew I wasn't spending today outside, I decided to start canning season off early! Asparagus was super cheap at the store, that never happens, so I bought at least 5 pounds of it. I froze most and decided to pickle the rest. I used the Pickled Asparagus recipe in Canning For A New Generation as a loose reference for liquid amounts because I didn't have an interest in making pickling spice.
I started out with 1 pound, 6oz of asparagus with the ends cut off, but not quite short enough yet to go in our jars. I mixed a brine using the liquid measurements that the book suggested for 1 pound of asparagus (forgetting I had 1.5 times that much) and ended up only having enough for half of my jars. Whoops! I had to scramble to whip up another batch of brine for the remaining jars. If I had mixed it all as one batch here is what I would have had:
1 cup rice vinegar
4 cups white vinegar (because I didn't have enough of the rice vinegar)
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/3 tbsp salt
2 tsp dill seed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove per jar
2 jars have a half rice vinegar/half white vinegar brine and 2 jars have an all white vinegar brine. There was 1 jar that overlapped the two different brines.
Boil the brine, pack the jars, fill the jars with enough brine to cover the spears. Process as you would any other pickled veggie (I did these in a hot water bath for 10 minutes).
Throughout this whole process I couldn't help but think of an asparagus roll hors d'oeuvres recipe that I used to help my grandmother make when I was a child for her bridge club. They had a strong curry flavor so the entire time I was canning I kept getting the urge to put curry in the jars. I decided to do it in the one jar of overlapping brine, I'll be sure to let you know how they turn out.
Manna's Asparagus Rolls
1 can green asparagus spears, well drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp chutney
1 loaf this sliced white sandwich bread with crusts removed (Wonder Bread!)
Use a rolling pin to roll each slice of bread lightly. Spread with dressing and seasoning. Place asparagus spear at one end of bread slice and roll up (leave edge down so it will stay rolled). Cut into halves or thirds. Cover with a damp towel or place in a tight plastic container until serving time. Makes approximately 3-41/2 dozen depending on how you cut them.
I think I need to find an excuse to make this recipe again...