Friday, May 07, 2010

Do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?

It is thunderstorming and we are having a tornado watch this evening.   I am slated to do a canning demo at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market tomorrow, and the plan is that I will preserve stewed rhubarb and pickled asparagus.   I wanted to get the recipes posted here so people can check them out, and looking at the forecast tomorrow it's going to reach a high of 50 F and there's a chance of more rain.  Do I think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?  Probably not....I am supposed to be under a tent or under roof of the market, and it will be warm around the canning kettle for sure! Did you know that Michigan ranks third in the U.S. for both rhubarb and asparagus production?  Check out this great blog post about rhubarb cultivation in Michigan.  I adore rhubarb pie, and canned rhubarb is great in pie or in a crisp, or even as a topping for vanilla yogurt. 

Canning rhubarb has got to be the easiest thing in the world to preserve.  All you need is rhubarb and sugar.
Trim off leaves. Wash stalks and cut into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces. In a large saucepan add 1/2 cup sugar for each 1.5 lbs of fruit.  Let stand until juice appears. Heat gently to boiling. Fill jars without delay, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process for 15 minutes.  For  details, check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation's rhubarb page

Now, for the pickled asparagus...asparagus is one of vegetables referenced in botulism cases....that is, improperly canned asparagus.   To can it as a vegetable, one needs to pressure can it.  However, I wouldn't recommend preserving it that way - instead, roast it and freeze it.  It's much better that way- it's mushy when canned.   I love it as a pickle - that's a safe way to preserve asparagus, and it is delicious on an antipasto tray or in a Bloody Mary.  Here's my interpretation of a recipe I found in a wonderful book The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.

Pickled Asparagus

Makes 5 12 ounce jelly jars

5 garlic cloves, sliced

15 whole allspice berries
30 black peppercorns
20 whole coriander seeds
5 small pieces nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
3 lbs asparagus

for the brine
2 1/2 c. distilled vinegar
2 1/2 c. water
2 1/2 t. pickling salt
2 T. sugar

Divide spices among the 5 clean hot jarsjars and pack asparagus in the jars, tips up.  In a saucepan, bring the brine to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar.  Pour the hot liquid over the asparagus, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Place a lid on top and tighten band.  Pasteurize the jars for 30 minutes in water that's heated to 180-185 F.  Or, boil water bath process for 10 minutes Let the asparagus steep for 3 weeks before tasting.

If you don't know how to safely process food by canning, please visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation website, or check out the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, tout suite! These are the best sources for info on canning safely.


Canning Tomatoes said...

Thank you so much for the insight! I always freeze my rhubarb for my adored pies and even though I can a ton for some reason never have thought about canning it. LOVE the blog...Great to see some many amazing MI women doing amazing things!

Gwr said...

Not if it's in cans!