4 Simple Steps For Preserving Asparagus

 

If we have a dollar to spend on some wild excess, we shall spend it on a book, not on asparagus out of season.  – Katharine Fullerton Gerould

Spring vegetables are overflowing in the markets this time of year.   I, for one, am excited to get my hands on a few of those great tasting lovelies. There is something about spring that brings out a craving for fresh, crispy vegetables and there’s no better time to buy asparagus, peas, and artichokes than right now. Buying in season is the most beneficial in terms of freshness and cost savings.

When buying spring vegetables, remember to purchase plenty to put away for later. It’s like money in the bank with the added benefit of enjoying a bit of fresh spring flavor throughout the year.

4 Simple Steps for Preserving Asparagus: Pure and Simple

My favorite springtime vegetable, without question, is asparagus. Unfortunately, it is one of the vegetables I have not yet planted here at Pure Grace Farms. So, when I saw asparagus at the bargain price of only 98 cents a pound at Winco (our fabulous local grocery store), I didn’t hesitate to buy a shopping cart full. It is a tasty delicious treat right now and I have more than enough to put away for later.

Preserving asparagus can be done by several methods. Canning, pickling, or freezing are a few ways that come to mind. Though, in my humble opinion, canning can be easily crossed of the list. When canning, asparagus is basically cooked to death. The texture turns mushy and leaves the asparagus resembling a stringy pudding. Not a bit appetizing to my way of thinking.

Pickling is a simple, fun, and tasty way to preserve, but for now this method will be taken off the table and saved for another day.

4 Simple Steps for Preserving Asparagus: Pure and Simple Freezing asparagus wins the prize and is mostly my preservation method of choice. It is important for me to acknowledge that freezing asparagus is a bit tricky, and many will not dare to tread down this dark alley.  It is also true that special care must be taken to preserve the best possible flavor and texture of the asparagus. But have no fear, be brave and come along with me. If a few simple rules are followed, home preservers can have every bit of success in serving up crisp fresh tasting asparagus as the large manufacturers do that stock it in your grocers freezer aisle.

4 Simple Steps for Preserving Asparagus: Pure and Simple Follow these 4 simple steps for preserving asparagus and you will enjoy delicious fresh tasting asparagus at reasonable prices long after the short growing season is over.

  1. Prior to freezing, cook your asparagus sparingly -Pre-treating asparagus is necessary to kill the enzymes that cause your asparagus to lose flavor and color during the freezing process. Choose a method that is effective but retains the crisp texture of the asparagus.
  2. Cool or chill the asparagus as quickly as possible after cooking to stop the cooking process -Yes, I know, an ice water bath is a pain in the tush but it is a necessary and vital step to getting great results when freezing asparagus. It should not be overlooked. When grilling asparagus, an ice water bath is not feasible, so make sure to get that asparagus in the coldest part of your refrigerator as quickly as you can, after it comes off the grill.
  3. Freeze in small batches to help facilitate a quicker freeze -When freezing, ice crystals form and cause damage to the cell walls of the asparagus, which in turn causes the asparagus to lose texture and get mushy. The quicker the freeze the less opportunity ice crystals have to form.
  4. Cook frozen asparagus from a frozen state (never thaw) -Texture is retained more effectively when asparagus is steamed or roasted after freezing. The asparagus is already partially cooked from pre-treatment so cooking just long enough to heat gives the best results.

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest and Olive Oil

How to Freeze Grilled Asparagus

How to Freeze Steamed Asparagus

Fresh Pumpkin Puree

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ―William Cullen Bryant

Today as I sit down to write, I find myself unable to focus on the here and now, the present tense.

Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats. Fond memories of fall, times past with my children, spring up, flood over me and serve to remind me that my babies are grown and gone. Nostalgia creeps up, its arrow bulls-eyes right to the heart, and I am undone.

Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats.

I remember fall picnics, sharing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, watching childish antics and hearing silly stories of great adventures, out beneath the large oak tree. 

Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats.

There were magical times spent tromping through the apple trees, climbing up and down ladders and scurrying here and there, always at full speed, searching for the “bestest and most perfect apple”. 

Excursions were also frequent to the local Bates Nut Farm, where the kids and I would go pumpkin hunting through the pumpkin patch, buy hot dogs, and afterwards, feed the goats. 

Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats.

My daughter carried her “blankie” with her everywhere she went and the petting zoo was no exception.  I spent many afternoons, retrieving her blanket from some hungry goats mouth, as she toddled  about squealing with joy and excitement to “touch the pretties.” 

Memories are precious, wonderful things, even if they make us a bit sad. 

So, after walking down this little pathway of memory lane, I tuck them away for now, and look again at the present and give thanks.  I recognize the wonderful part about life is the ability to make new memories. Roast your pumpkin for a  fresh pumpkin puree that adds great flavor and freshness to all your fall treats.

Memories of a little boy who enjoys warm maple syrup on his pancakes and can barely sit still to eat them, in anticipation of his monthly trip to the dump with grandpa. Tucked away are moments to treasure, of our grandson, lugging a pumpkin up the stairs from our pumpkin patch, exclaiming, “look grandma, it is just my size”.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds: Don’t waste those precious pumpkin seeds, roast them instead

Pumpkin Seeds with Cajun Seasoning: Don’t waste those precious pumpkin seeds, roast them instead.

 Always one more memory on the horizon, waiting to embed itself into my life.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake With Whiskey Butter Sauce - Oh My! Moist, filled with great flavor and not too sweet. Just one more itsy bitsy piece, thanks.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake With Whiskey Butter Sauce

This fall, pumpkins along with life abounds. I’m ready for a special treat. How about you?

How to Make Fresh Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Bundt Cake With Whiskey Butter Sauce

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds 

 

Fresh Pumpkin Puree shared with:

*Homestead Lady: Green Thumb Thursday