Happy Trails and the Reproduction of Asparagus

If you don’t read the rest of this post, at least enjoy this video.  How awesome is that?

What a nice weekend.   It was Spring Barrel Tasting in the valley, which means tons of buses and partying.  We left the horses at home, they just don’t party that much.

My good friend came from Montana and we spent Friday as tourists — tasting wine of course, here on Red Mountain.  

We started out with a pizza at Cafe Orsa (in the tasting room at Terra Blanca).  Marta tried to get me to try a fig pizza and I’m all like, “Look, I’m adventurous.  I like food.  But nothing about “fig pizza” is really resonating with me.”  Because it’s figs.  Which remind me of Fig Newtons.  Instead we had a to-die-for veggie pizza.  

We tasted at Frichette, I think my favorite is their Red table wine blend.  I love the landscaping around the winery, and they have classes and events happening ALL.  THE.  TIME!  

Of course we went to Kiona!  We were there about 5 minutes before Rob says from behind the bar, “Oh!  Hey, I didn’t recognize you without a cowboy hat and a magnum of wine under your arm!”  So I fixed that immediately and grabbed some wine.  I always buy a magnum of Vivacious Vicky white.  It is probably one of the best deals on the hill.  Also grabbed some Lemberger.  Oddly, whenever I’ve worked in the tasting room, Lemberger was always well-received.  Yet you really just don’t see a lot of it around.  

We ended our day with my dear friends and neighbors at Portrait Cellars.  I don’t know if you could call it wine tasting or just visiting with friends.  I’m a huge fan of all of their red wines and bought a couple bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon there.  

So yeah, that was a fun day. 

pickledasparagus

Then Jeff bought us some asparagus.  Sixty pounds.  I had a recipe that called for 30 pounds and said it would yield around 15 pints of pickled asparagus. …23 pints later and I was scrambling to find enough rings for my jars.  And, when I picked up all of the ends I’d snapped off, I swear the stuff was reproducing because I think I ended up with 23 pints of pickled pieces PLUS 30 pounds of scraps.  

I’m freezing the next 30 pounds but after the massive pickling production, I need a break.

If you’re into pickled asparagus (I only know one person who isn’t), here’s a great recipe courtesy of my friend Julie at Hootenanny Ranch.  Enjoy!

Julie's Pickled Asparagus
Yields 15
Slightly spicy, totally awesome pickled asparagus. These are great in salads, relish trays, and as a Bloody Mary garnish. Or, if you're us, they are great straight out of the jar for dinner.
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Ingredients
  1. 30 lbs asparagus
  2. Wide-mouth pint or quart jars. Wide-mouth jars are easier to pack.
Brine
  1. 3 quarts water
  2. 3 quarts apple cider vinegar (5% acidity, no substitutes)
  3. 2/3 cup pickling salt (don't use table salt)
  4. For the Pack (measurements are PER PINT)
  5. 2 cloves garlic
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
  9. 1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
Instructions
  1. Clean, blanch, and drain asparagus.
  2. Prepare brine by putting all brine ingredients in large pot and bring to simmer. Keep hot for remaining steps.
  3. Place garlic cloves in bottom of each jar.
  4. Trim and pack asparagus spears. (quart jars would be easier with less trimming, but since there's just Jeff and I, I used pints.) KEEP TRIMMED PIECES - we process these the same as the rest, but keep for our personal stash and gift the jars that have full spears.
  5. Add peppers and mustard seeds to jars. (You might want more pepper, or other peppers or onions. I'm kind of a "less is more" girl.)
  6. Add brine to jars. Run knife along sides of jars to remove air pockets.
  7. Wipe rims of jars, put lids and rings on. Process in hot water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
Red Mountain Trails http://www.redmountaintrails.com/
 If you have questions or need more information about canning and preserving, I highly recommend the Ball Blue Book of Preserving and the Fresh Preserving website.  

 

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