Asparagus is a delicious seasonal vegetable that is a lovely addition to so many meals. It takes at least three years from the first sowing before asparagus is ready to eat, and it spends all that time developing its health properties and delicate flavour. Asparagus, also known as Sparrow Grass, has been eaten for centuries – it is included in one of the oldest cookery books known to man, and is even pictured on an Egyptian frieze dating back to 3000 BC. But can you vacuum seal fresh asparagus?
Health benefits of asparagus
Asparagus is a tasty vegetable in its own right, and it also has great health benefits. It can help with losing weight, because it has a high fibre content, and it also has diuretic properties, meaning that you will feel less bloated due to water retention after eating it.
It contains high levels of vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with Calcium, Iron, Folate, Copper and Protein. It is also very high in Antioxidants, which can help to fight against free radicals and even help prevent against cancer.
You do have to be careful not to overcook it however, as this can remove the nutritional benefits.
Eating asparagus is not only delicious pretty much any way you cook it, but it is also exceptionally good for your body too – and there’s not many foods you can say that about!
Read also: Can You Vacuum Seal Macaroni And Cheese?
What is vacuum sealing
Vacuum sealing is the process of storing a vegetable in a jar that has a vacuum seal activated, due to the process of heating the jars then allowing them to cool.
This process retains all the vegetable’s nutrients, keeps it as fresh as the day it was picked, and allows the flavour to shine through.
There are many benefits to vacuum sealing fresh vegetables; the taste for one – it is distinctive, and although they may not come out with quite the same crunch that they went in with, they are still incredibly palatable.
The fact that the vegetables are not really cooked is another great bonus, as this means that they keep all of their health benefits without having them boiled away.
How to vacuum seal fresh asparagus
This is a super easy process, that will keep your asparagus crisp and delicious for months, or even years.
You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment; just some wide mouthed Mason jars (these are the best as they are strong enough to withstand the heating process, and have a good wide mouth so that getting the asparagus out again is not a problem).
There are two methods, known as hot pack and cold pack, and both are equally effective – which one you choose will be down to your personal choice and which end result you prefer.
A. Hot pack method:
- Trim your asparagus so they are all roughly the same length, and remove any hard woody bits from the ends of the stems.
- Blanch the spears in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then pack them tightly into your mason jars.
- It will be tricky to handle the stems as they will be slightly floppy, but the trick is to pack the jars as full as possible.
- Once full of asparagus, pour boiling water over the asparagus, leaving one inch of head space.
- Next, place the jars into a canner, or alternatively a pan of boiling water, with the lids on loosely.
- Once they have boiled for about 20 minutes, remove them from the pan or canner and screw the lids on tightly.
- Label the jars with the date, so you know when they were sealed.
B. Cold pack method:
- Trim your asparagus as before, removing any dried or hard areas.
- Pack as many asparagus stems into each jar as you possibly can – remember that the canning process will shrink them slightly.
- Pour boiling water over the asparagus, leaving one inch of head space.
- Add the jars to a pressure canner if you have one, or boil the jars in a pan with their lids loosened for around 20 minutes.
- Screw the lids on tightly, and allow the jars to cool to form the tight seal.
- Label the jars so that you know what you have, and when it was canned.
What to do with the leftovers:
When you trim your asparagus to fit your jars, you will likely be left with lots of little pieces of the stem that were removed but that are not woody. Follow one of the above methods to preserve these pieces also.
How to vacuum seal fresh asparagus is an easy question to answer, as you can see, and it is so very rewarding.
Whether you are lucky enough to have grown your own, or you have been given it, or you have just bought a lot and are wondering what to do with it, vacuum sealing it is a great way to store it so that it retains both the taste and the nutritional benefits of asparagus.