Saturday, June 25, 2011

Asparagus Anyone?

The asparagus has been outstanding again this year, and pickled asparagus is a specialty of the house.  We bought thirteen pounds of Welsh Family Organics asparagus from their neighbour Ben Sosnicki at the Withrow Park Farmers' Market today.

Since it's best to lay up pickles when the produce is fresh, I went to work as soon as Aija, Nyls, and Suzy went up for an afternoon nap.  Not long afterward twelve pounds of asparagus had been rendered into nine pint jars of pickled asparagus.  We normally lay up two to three dozen jars of asparagus, so there's more work to do in the coming weeks, but it will be available for some time to come.

The only problem with pickling asparagus is that there can be a lot of waste.  Fresh asparagus spears are longer than fits in a jar even when the woody ends are broken off, so there were a couple of additional things on the go today.

First up was vegetable stock with the woody ends as it's foundation instead of turnips and parsnips.  This makes a delicious stock that is perfect for cream of asparagus soup... of course.  So, while the stock was simmering I prepared the ends of the asparagus left over from the pickling and Suzy and I made cream of roasted asparagus soup. 

So the net product of the day was nine jars of aspargus, four quarts of the soup, and three and half quarts of asparagus stock left over after the soup was made.  All that, and not an ounce of the asparagus left to waste!

Dinner time came and Nyls was asleep (he's only three weeks old), and Aija was out at a party, so Suzy and I sat down and enjoyed a delightful dinner of the soup complemented by an Ace Bakery organic baguette with echire from The Friendly Butcher and a trio of local cheeses from the Montfort Dairy

When everything was cleaned up we finished off with a gin and tonic featuring Hendrick's gin, Fever-Tree tonic water, and a twist of organic lemon rind.  Perfect!

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