I’d planned on canning asparagus for a couple of days then got busy, bringing in all the flats of plants off of the back deck. The forecast for the night was a frost warning coupled with temperatures in the low thirties. As there were dozens of flats, I kind of got distracted. (Asparagus often will freeze when it frosts, or the temperatures go below 32° F. The spears get dark and droop dismally downward, soon shriveling and becoming tough.) I’d meant to pick it, but just plain forgot. Will got the heater going in the greenhouse after a quick fix. It seems that mason bees had built a nest in the gas jet and two larvae had hatched out, blocking the gas! We did buy two mason bee houses and we’ll have to get busy and hang them up for them if they’re that desperate for a nesting site. We do love them as they are great pollinators. Well, the temperature got down to 28° F at night, but all of our plants were cozy inside. OH oh, I remembered the asparagus. Fearing the worst, I checked it while doing my morning chores. I was happy to see that it had not been affected. So I got busy and cut all three patches then canned it up. I only got six pints but then it was the first big picking and we’ve had such dry weather. I’ll keep canning it for a couple of weeks and even if it’s only six pints at a time, they sure do add up quickly.

I just love seeing thick asparagus stalks pop up, seemingly overnight.
Asparagus is one of our favorite foods; so good for you too.

Boy, are our plants in the greenhouse doing super fine! I just can’t believe how much difference it made in their growth. Those tomatoes look like trees! Only a week or so and I’ll be setting them out (depending on the weather forecast, of course). We used to use Wall O’ Water plant protectors but when we started growing for the seed business, there were just too many tomatoes to use them. Too labor intensive for two senior gardeners. So our tomatoes will be a little later this year than usual but we’ll still get a great harvest (I hope!).

I just can’t get over what a huge difference our greenhouse made in the plants. This Bill Bean tomato looks like a tree!

Will’s work on the driveway is slowly paying off. The muck dried up as the rains quit. Today, he took the tractor out with the back blade and knocked down the ruts and smoothed most of the rough places out. There are still a lot of clay chunks on the drive but when they dry, he’ll blade it again and it will be nice and smooth. Well, pretty smooth for a long drive through the woods. Hey, I remember when it was barely a four-wheeler trail through swampy spots and rocks! Improvements do take time, after all. — Jackie

21 COMMENTS

  1. In a few more weeks I think you’ll have strawberries Jackie. Picked a quart yesterday – about 4-5 days early for me but I’m not complaining.

    • Ours are just starting to bloom! The honeyberries are set and still green but getting bigger. I make Will’s favorite jam from them.

    • I like to divide and transplant it in the spring before the plants have gone to fern. I carefully dig it the hose off the clinging dirt. It makes pulling the plants apart much easier. Then, immediately replant it and water it in.

  2. Does canned asparagus get mushy Jackie? I’m sure because it’s fresh from the garden the flavour is great even when canned. What recipes do you use it in? Curious minds want to know!

    • Yes, unfortunately, canned asparagus does get soft when canned. But the flavor is worth it, anyway. I use it in asparagus soup, casseroles, creamed asparagus over toast and just plain, swimming in butter.

  3. I have frozen asparagus. I blanch it for 2″ in salted water, then package it in vacuum bags. Let then let it freeze. When that’s done I vacuum seal it. We have it in dishes and as a side dish. Have had no problems.

    • And your asparagus does get soft, doesn’t it? I watched a video about Foodsaver sealing and it mentioned freezing soft vegetables (squash that had been breaded and fried, then cooled and frozen before vacuum-sealing in the frozen state so that the sealing doesn’t squeeze the heck out of it (a soft vegetable), before replacing in freezer. Is your asparagus’ final destination the freezer, as in the video I mentioned? or pantry the shelf? Thanks, Linda.

  4. I was wondering about the canned asparagus, too. I’ve bought frozen and it was pretty awful. I guess it’s pressure canned and I can’t imagine it not being pretty floppy. How do you use it?

    • I drain canned asparagus and make, our favorite, creamed asparagus over toast, casseroles, soup or even add it to quiches and omelets.

  5. I have a bunch of asparagus. We eat a lot and I give much of it away. I would love to can it although I’m not very experienced with canning. Do you have any tips for canning asparagus?

    • It is simple to can. Just rinse it and trim the tough ends off. Cut it into convenient pieces or whole spears. The whole spears, I arrange in wide mouth pint jars, standing upright, the pieces, I just pack into jars, leaving an inch of headspace. A add a tsp of salt to each jar then fill with boiling water, leaving 1″ of headspace. Pints are pressure canned at 10 pounds pressure for 30 minutes. (If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning book for directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude.)

  6. I know what you mean about seeing those big fat spears popping up overnight! I love to eat them raw out of the garden too. I just purchased your pantry cookbook! I’m so excited to get it. I was in a bind at dinner the other night until I remembered your article in BWH about using some canned meat to make bbq sandwich! Life saver. I pulled out some canned beef, canned rhubarbque sauce, some canned green beans, and some homemade buns I had frozen and viola! Dinner in minutes. Thank you sooo much.

    • That’s what I LOVE about canning. When you’re hard put to come up with a tasty meal quickly, you just step into your pantry and Ta Da! Dinner is served!

    • We always have so many things we want to get done, but there’s always the priority thing involved, isn’t there???

  7. I tried freezing asparagus for several years but they always were bitter when we tried to eat. Even with blanching them first. Any ideas why?

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