You can fit more into the jars if you pack the asparagus while it’s hot. Using this hot pack method will give you a darker colored asparagus and will be more cooked. To hot pack cover washed asparagus with boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. Place the hot asparagus spears into hot jars, cover with boiling water and remove the air bubbles.
Salt if you wish. Cover with a two-piece lid and process in a pressure canner. Process at 11 pounds pressure for 30 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts.
Note that there is no safe way to can asparagus using a water-bath canner. If you don’t want to use a pressure canner, you need to pickle it or freeze it.
Pickling asparagus involves covering raw asparagus with a hot pickling brine. The brine contains vinegar, which retards the harmful bacteria that otherwise would grow.
To pickle asparagus, wash and trim 8 pints of asparagus spears. Cut them to fit the pint or quart jars.
Combine 6 cups of water, 6 cups white vinegar, 6 tablespoons salt and 2 teaspoons of pickling spices (tied in a white cloth bag) in a pan and bring to a boil. Pack raw asparagus spears into the jars, tips down for easy removal. Cover with the boiling brine solution and add one clove of garlic per jar. Remove the air bubbles, cover with two-piece lids and process in a boiling water bath canner. Process pints or quarts for 10 minutes.
For more information about pickling asparagus and other vegetables contact the WSU Extension ofﬁce (360-397- 6060) and request the Pickling Vegetables publication.