Monday, April 26, 2010

Pickled and Put Up

So this week we had a little bit of extra money due to our tax refund, so after putting as much as we could into the "please let us be able to afford a house" fund I hit the market. I had decided to 'put up" some of the first shoots of asparagus and rhubarb. I think I am doing this backward though as every food blog/canning blog I've been reading seems to wait until the end of a season when things are a bit cheaper. BUT I don't think the market that I go to will reduce prices much.

So I got a late start (our car decided that it needed new brakes, and some fuse replaced- it always seems to know when we have money to spend) and when I got to the market pretty much all the really red rhubarb was gone, and the market was full of people with their dogs and children. Let me pause here and say that I love dogs and children. And yet I hate them at the market. I don't want to trip over your overlong dog leash (or your stupid little dog) or bash my foot into your stroller while I am trying to buy greens thank you very much. So if you must bring your dog and stroller bound child to the market. PLEASE go during the week, or I don't know let your 5 year old walk for goodness sake.
Anyway back to the market. I managed to procure about 5 and a half lbs of rhubarb and 3 and a half lbs of green asparagus. There was also about a lb of purple asparagus, which I bought on a whim.

When I got home I searched the internet for some recipes. Since asparagus is a low acid food I knew I had to pickle it in order to safely can it in my water bath canner. It took me about a million years to find a recipe that I could do. I still need to purchase some things in order to really get into putting stuff up. Things like pectin and pickling spices and a new headspace tool (since I melted mine by accident). But anywho I took that produce and turned it into this

On the right there is Pickled Ramps from a recipe of Tom Colicchio (is it weird that I wanted to make this quick like I was on a top chef quickfire challenge?) I didn't have mustard seed or fennel so I just pickled with coriander and pepper. We shall see how it turns out. There is also stewed rhubarb (which basically is just boiled rhubarb with honey) and Rosemary Rhubarb Jam.
You will note that my jars are not as pretty as the food blogger from which I got the recipe. That's because I screwed it up, I added the pectin as I was boiling it, so mine didn't really jell up as well, and doesn't really taste like rosemary. I did have some left over which looks really pretty (and i think it also is because I didn't use the right size jars) and tastes more lemony than rhubabry but it is really good.
On the left are the pickled asparagus. I didn't have any dill so I followed this recipe. And because I had melted my headspace checker prior to pickling the spears there was a lot of frantic google searches of " if I leave too little headspace will I kill my family with botulism" (793 answers) and "signs of botulism in home canned foods" (13,700 answers) both of which scare the bejesus out of me.
So hopefully I won't kill the whole family with my canning.


Evelyn said...

Wow! I don't know where you find time to do it all! Just wanted to pass this along:

Hope you and yours are well!


regina said...

aw you figured it out!
I don't find the time, Joe helped a little then he was out with daddy, and jude was underfoot or on my back!