How to Can Asparagus

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A good friend brought me bags of fresh picked asparagus spears one year. I had lots to experiment with, so I decided to learn how to can asparagus. Home canned asparagus gets very soft. You may or may not like it. But you can use it for making soup or adding to other meals if you don’t like the texture. Be sure and check the tips section for some ideas. You’ll need 16 pounds for 9 pints or 24–25 pounds for 7 quarts. 

Supplies

Ingredients

  • Asparagus 
  • Canning salt (optional) 
  • Water 

Raw or Hot Pack

Asparagus can be packed either hot or raw pack. It is your choice. Remember this is just how you pack the jars. Either packing method will be processed in a pressure canner.

Raw Pack

Wash fresh asparagus and cut into the desired lengths. Pack asparagus pieces tightly into jars.

Add salt (1/2 teaspoon per pint or 1 teaspoon per quart) if desired. Add boiling water to jar, leaving 1″ headspace. Remove air bubbles with a bubble tool. Then process according to chart below.

Remember raw pack method asparagus does not mean no pressure canning. You DO need to process this. Raw pack simply means packing it into the jars raw and uncooked.

Hot Pack

Wash asparagus and cut into the desired lengths. Place it in a pot with water to cover. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then add hot asparagus loosely into hot jars (without squishing). Since it is heated it will be soft. Be careful not to smush your asparagus. Remove air bubbles with a bubble tool.

Add salt (1/2 tsp. per pint jars or 1 tsp. per quart) if desired. Add boiling water to jar, leaving 1 inch headspace. Process according to chart below.

If you are not familiar with using your pressure canner Check this article for step by step tutorial.

Don’t forget to adjust for altitude!

Canning Asparagus

Here's a recipe for Canning Asparagus. You’ll need ~16 pounds of asparagus for 9 pints or 24–25 pounds for 7 quarts. 
Print Recipe
Two jars filled with pieces of cooked asparagus.
Prep Time:15 minutes
Processing Quarts (adjust for altitude):40 minutes
Total Time:55 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Start by preparing your jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.
    If you are new to using a pressure canner, see this article for full pressure canning instructions. This includes more detailed information and step-by-step instructions on how a pressure canner works.

For a Raw Pack

  • Wash asparagus and cut to desired length. 
  • Pack raw asparagus tightly into jars. 
  • Add salt (1/2 tsp. per pint or 1 tsp. per quart) if desired. 
  • Add boiling water to jar, leaving 1” headspace.
  • Wipe the rim clean and place on your seal and ring.
  • Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars.
  • Process in a pressure canner according to the directions below.

For a Hot Pack

  • Wash asparagus and cut to desired length.
  • Place cut asparagus in pot with water to cover and boil for 2–3 minutes.
  • Add hot asparagus loosely into jar. Don’t squish!
  • Add salt (1/2 tsp. per pint or 1 tsp. per quart) if desired.
  • Add boiling water to jar, leaving 1” headspace.
  • Wipe the rim clean and place on your seal and ring.
  • Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars.
  • Process in a pressure canner according to the directions below.

Notes

Processing with a Pressure Canner
Place the jars in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the prepared hot canner. 
Put the lid on the canner leaving the weights off.  Bring to a boil. Watch for the steam to start coming out the vent pipe in the lid.
Allow the steam to ‘vent’ for 10 minutes then put the weights on. Use the proper weight for your altitude (check the chart below) This is when pressure will start to build.  
When the pressure reaches the pressure required for your altitude (check the chart below) that is when you’ll start your time.  Process for the full time indicated, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the correct pressure for the entire time.
When processing time is completed turn off the heat. Do not remove weights yet. Let the canner sit undisturbed until pressure comes back to zero. Do not try to speed up the cooling process.
Remove the weight and wait 5 minutes.
Open the lid to allow steam to escape. (carefully don’t let it hit your face or arms!) Leave the lid setting on top of the canner slightly ajar and wait 5 minutes.
Take the lid off the canner and remove your jars. (optionally you can wait another 5 minutes if the contents appear to be bubbling so hard it is coming out of the jars)
Put the jars a few inches apart on a thick towel and allow them to cool to room temperature undisturbed. 12 hours is suggested.
When the jars are cool, remove the metal bands, check the seals, and store the jars in a cool dark place.
Processing Instructions (Raw Pack or Hot Pack) 
Process pints for 30 minutes or quarts for 40 minutes, adjusting for altitude.  
Altitude Adjustments for Pressure Canner  
Altitude – Dial Gauge – Weighted Gauge   
  • 0-1,000 ft – 11 pounds – 10 pounds  
  • 1,001-2,000 ft – 11 pounds – 15 pounds  
  • 2,001-4,000 ft – 12 pounds – 15 pounds  
  • 4,001-6,000 ft – 13 pounds – 15 pounds  
  • 6,001-8,000 ft – 14 pounds – 15 pounds  
  • 8,001-10,000 ft – 15 pounds – 15 pounds 
Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation, Colorado State Extension
Servings: 7 quart jars

Tips & FAQs

How Do You Use Canned Asparagus? Does It Get Mushy?

Since I was not sure I’d like soft, canned asparagus, I was doing some research first. I saw comments from a couple of people: Try canning asparagus and use it to make asparagus soup! Brilliant!

What I’ll do is freeze the tips and choice parts of the asparagus to eat as a side veggie with dinner. Then I’ll can just the stem. I think it’ll work great. If the asparagus is too soft for my liking, I’ll make soup. No wasted food! If you want to can the entire spear, just use the same process as above. 

What Asparagus Should You Use for Canning? 

The recipe source says you should use tender, tight-tipped spears, ideally 4–6” long. But your asparagus may be much longer.

What I did is cut off the tips and a portion of the stem for fresh eating and freezing, and then I cut the rest into 1–2” pieces for canning. Tender is the key here! You can use the stems for canning, but don’t waste your time on tough, woody stems. They do still need to be the edible portion of the spear. 

How to Freeze Asparagus .

Since I know someone will wonder, here is how to freeze the tips if you decide not to can them: I simply cut the tips and some of the stem, blanched lightly, and placed in freezer bags. 

Can You Can Asparagus Without a Pressure Canner?

No, unfortunately you must use a pressure canner to make it shelf stable. The main complaint people have is the texture does soften up. But the flavor remains. I didn’t care for it just out of the jar. But I could see making soup or adding it to other recipes.

You can however pickle your asparagus! Pickling it in a white vinegar brine makes it a candidate for the waterbath canner.

There are other options for preserving it and using it. Check this page Ways to Keep Asparagus

Related Pages

Canning Vegetables is perfect for the beginner. Fresh veggies from your garden (or farmer’s market) retain higher nutrition, and canning is a great way to preserve your hard work. Learn at SimplyCanning.com.

Asparagus is one of those vegetables that can be tricky to know what to do with. Learn ways to preserve it by canning, freezing, drying, and pickling! Recipes are included at SimplyCanning.com.

Canned Beets – The process is fairly simple, but may take a little longer than other vegetables you’re used to canning. Step-by-step guide with tips and tricks included at SimplyCanning.com!

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How to Can Asparagus

Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation, Colorado State Extension

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