The ruminations of an artist on art & life...art quilts, beading, knitting, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking are all my passions, I love to explore creating....

Sunday, July 05, 2009

How to Can Beach Asparagus

"Beach Asparagus" is an inter-tidal green plant that grows on some beaches profusely in Southeast Alaska ( I have also seen this plant growing in California beach marshes). In Port Alexander there is along tradition of harvesting this plant and canning it for future gourmet feasts ---preferably served with plenty of fresh caught fish. Yesterday, my friend Sue and I set off on a beach asparagus harvesting expedition.....

The first step (after rising at 5:30 am to take advantage of the low tide) was to get into this little punt and row to the head of the trail---we planned to hike about 15 minutes to a secluded beach---locally called "Ship's Cove, because there are the remains of an old minesweeper lurking there...visible at low tide.


Here are some views of Ship's Cove-----


We used scissors to cut the beach asparagus

filled our bucket and hiked back---rowed back to the dock, and took the harvest home....we were back at the Lodge by 8:00 am....

Of course, then we had to find the canning jars, wash them and then after soaking the beach asparagus in fresh water (since it grows inter-tidal--beach asparagus can be quite salty if you don't thoroughly rinse it in fresh water)---we filled the jars, packing the greens down firmly....

loaded the jars into the canner---and "canned"them--ie: first let the canner steam awhile, then sealed it---and raised the heat until the gauge was at 1o pounds and then adjusted the stove so the canner stayed at this place until we were done....

and viola! 25 pint jars of canned beach asparagus greens for future consumption...

Although I had not done this--(or canned anything!) for about 6 years or more...the whole process was familiar to me from many years of doing this each summer...I also used to also regularly can salmon, halibut, and crab. There is something special about eating food you harvested in the wild yourself....somehow it tastes better.

“Some sensible person once remarked that you spend the whole of your life either in your bed or in your shoes. Having done the best you can by shoes and bed, devote all the time and resources at your disposal to the building up of a fine kitchen. It will be, as it should be, the most comforting and comfortable room in the house.” ---Elizabeth David (1913-1992) French Country Cooking

8 comments:

Mary Timme said...

Wow! I was able to learn something today. I've never thought or heard of beach asparagus! Now I find out you are able to can it! Amazing.

pamela said...

Wow, that's really cool! I think i ate beach asparagus once, in a little Japanese noodle shop. It was yummy.

Oldie said...

During a trip to the Berkeley Bowl a few years back, we noticed that in the Asian produce section, they were selling Beach Asparagus as "Sea Beans."

Nice post, Aurora.

todayandeveryday said...

I never new any of that! wow, you did all of that rowing and picking and picture taking and rowing in a matter of hours! what a way to make the most of your day. I love the photos of the cove. Very interesting, wish I could have been there myself.
Peace~
Dawn

Anonymous said...

where did you get your prosessing time in the canner. I can't find it from extention service. I love it raw just cleaned. My email is tx@techie.com

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know the nutritional content of beach asparagus?

karenhealy11 said...

Hi, Aurora, great pictures and description of what has become for me an annual event--We love it as a salad with some beets and toasted pecans added.

Anonymous said...

pWe have been jarring beach asparagus for sometime now. The salads are great, easy to change up and I even made pesto with it! great stuff.