Hollis, Alaska Pickled Sea Asparagus Recipe - P.O.W. Report

Friday, July 10, 2020

Hollis, Alaska Pickled Sea Asparagus Recipe

I pickled sea asparagus five years ago and excuse after excuse was used and I was never able to pickle anything again, despite buying a very nice water bath canning set from Mason Jar (that even came with a canning book!)

Well, I finally had time and harvested about 4lbs worth and had an *afternoon free and figured why not!

I made 12 of the 8 ounce cans and 12 of the 16 ounce cans

*Speaking of afternoon, this WILL take an entire afternoon i'm on hour three as I sit here writing with probably another hour to go. 

I used these two recipes [here] and [here] as my guide and flipped through my canning book (but there wasn't a guide on sea asparagus.

Basically the recipe and from what i've adjusted goes like this: 

  • 50/50 water and vinegar (5% acidic)
  • 2.5tbsp per every 6 cups of brine of pickling spices
  • I also threw in some fresh thyme in one brine batch and fresh rosemary in another batch
  • 1 large clove of garlic in every jar
  • Hot Water Bath for 12 minutes with the jar about an inch+ under water

Before we get started it's important to sanitize the jars and I boiled them in water for 10 minutes, now the **controversy that I discovered is how to sanitize the lids. My mason jar canning book said there is no need to boil the lids (and boiling them destroys the rubber gasket). Another video I watched was a lady who just washed the lids with soapy water and rinsed them off. And another lady that boiled the lids for 10 minutes. 

I washed them off and put them in boiling water for 5 minutes. I don't know what the right thing is so feel free to comment! I figured a nice quick hot bath would kill most of the germs after the wash and it wouldn't be in the water long enough to disturb the gasket. 

When you fill the jar up with the brine, leave an inch gap from the top and use a little spatula to get rid of trapped air. Now, I wasn't able to get rid of all the trapped air, however, with pickling veggies like this I don't believe that it's too big of a deal if air remains as long as you put the effort in.

Now in the recipes I posted above there is a suggestion of boiling the sea asparagus once you jar them up to 10 minutes and the other for 15 minutes. I split the difference and boiled them in water for 12 minutes. My reasoning being that sea asparagus isn't very thick and I didn't want to over cook them. 

**Another controversy is how long to rinse the veggies before you jar them. Both recipes said do a really good wash and let them sit in water. I didn't do that. I did a very light rinse while picking out any stray grass that I found. Here's why; from reading other recipes like pickling cucumbers, it's important to use salt because the salt is what keeps your product Crunchy. Since sea asparagus is naturally salty I didn't want to rinse away the ocean salt in fear that I would reduce the crunch. 

Now, I also harvested the product in a safe non-polluted area so i'm not worried about...human waste tainting (heh) my veggies.

One of the mistakes I made early on was NOT sanitizing all my jars at once, instead I just sanitized enough jars for each water bath (about four to six cans). This became a problem because in between sterilizing my jars the water bath would evaporate water and so by the time I went to put my full jars in I would have to take them out again to fill the pot back up with water to boil. 

Basically, I just extended my work load by at least an hour (as I had to wait for the pot to reboil constantly). On the positive side, this allowed me to experiment with my brine which I also only made enough for one batch. So by batch three I discovered that I had fresh thyme and fresh rosemary in my fridge and decided to add them. 

The theory goes that next year, when I decide to do this again, I'll know what recipe I liked the most and will make a massive brine pot with exactly that recipe and save time thyme in the future. 

So there you go! If you would like to share your tips and tricks and comments please shoot me an email or comment! 

For those curious on the brines that I used: 

  • Batch 1: 2.5tbsp of pickling spice for every 6 cups of 50/50 water and vinegar with garlic clove in jar
  • Batch 2: 3 tbsp of pickling spice for every 6 cups of 50/50 water and vinegar with garlic clove in jar
  • Batch 3: 3.5 tbsp of pickling spice for every 6 cups of 50/50 water and vinegar with garlic clove in jar and fresh rosemary (in brine not jars)
  • Batch 4: 2.5 tbsp of pickling spice for every 6 cups of 50/50 water and vinegar with garlic clove in jar and fresh thyme (in brine not jars)

***For the pickling spice, I used a cheese cloth and put the spices in there instead of just dumping it into the brine. Some people like dumping it in the brine, for sea asparagus all the spices gets caught in the veggies when you go to eat it and you bite into the peppercorn and it's gross. I don't like it. Using a cheese cloth produces the same results without the over powering mess that gets into the jar. 

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