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Freezing Aspargus

I’ve processed more asparagus in jars this week than I want to admit. I had 6 bunches left to process and I wanted to try freezing some.

We haven’t eaten any of the processed asparagus in jars, so I’m not sure how it turned out. But I am confident that it’s safe to eat and I’ve been saving asparagus casserole recipes just in case it is mushier than we want to eat straight out of the jar.

I hot packed about half of the asparagus in 1 1/2 pint jars because they are tall. I raw packed the other half in pint jars. I prefer processing it raw pack in pint jars because it’s faster and I waste less space in the jar because I can cut the spears right in half and they fit.

Onto the freezing experiment!

Here’s my set up:

I used my steam canner because the pot is big enough that I can fit the whole bunch in one pot without having to cut any spears in half. I lined my canner basket with a round cake cooling pan so the asparagus wouldn’t fall through the bottom of the basket. I use the same set up when I process 1/2 pint jars of jam, too. Small jars seem to sit on the rack without tipping when loaded on the cake cooling pan.

 Blanching foods kills the enzymes (gasp! I know there are lot of people who will never allow this in their home, but since we are not able to eat fresh, raw foods every day, we like to be able to have food available to eat all the time…. even if we have no income!)

Killing enzymes stops the food from breaking down and spoiling. It also kills any harmful bacteria that might be along for the ride.

Place the asparagus on the rack, lower into the boiling water, and blanch for about 2 minutes. I make sure the water is boiling for at least 1 of the 2 minutes.

Immediately remove from the boiling water (the canning rack with handles helps do this very quickly) and place in an ice water bath. Leave the asparagus until it is completely cold… not cooled of… completely cold. This usually means leaving it in the ice for at least as long as leaving it in the boiling water.
Take the asparagus out of the ice water bath and place in a (mostly) single layer on a cookie cooling rack and place in a freezer. The more asparagus (or other vegetable) you are trying to freeze at once, the longer it will take to freeze. The quicker you can freeze the asparagus, the better texture you will have when you eat it in the future.

When the asparagus is completely frozen, seal it in freezer bags with as much air removed as possible, or use a FoodSaver. Label it, place in a deep freeze (if you have one) or the regular freezer and use within one year.

 That’s it!

It isn’t possible to flash freeze foods at home (I can’t afford a freezer that will freeze my food in 12 seconds!) so the texture isn’t the same as what I buy in the store. However, it’s nice to be able to process food at home and to know there won’t be a recall on it.

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