Forget Sees Candies, forget Chukar Cherries, forget homemade fudge. For Christmas 2008, Derrick has already decided what each and every one of you is receiving from the Smith family:

That’s right: Garlic and Jalapeno Pickled Asparagus. How, you ask? How could a man as unassuming as my husband come up with such a sophisticated, impressive gift? Well, he actually received a jar of pickled asparagus from a co-worker for his 35th birthday. It was meant as a gag gift, but Derrick took one bite of the jalapeno and garlic concoction and was smitten. He ranted and raved for weeks about how delicious the asparagus was, how it would make a great Christmas gift, and please, please, please couldn’t I learn how to can something, just this once? (The nerve! My pantry is full of cans…of pop.)

You all know what a doting wife I am, so of course I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and got the job done. My good friend Cara (who will be partially responsible for any damaged relationships due to this gift) was kind enough to help me with–okay, do most of–the work. She is a true canning/cooking whiz and shared some of her talent with me (thank you, Cara!) Will any of the three people reading this blog think less of me if I tell you that this is the first thing I have ever canned? Ever. I’ve done freezer jam, but the art of canning has eluded me. Until now. The pickled asparagus has given me a shot of heartburn, I mean, confidence, that has me excited to try canning some peaches in August. But don’t worry. We won’t burden you at Christmastime with sweet, juicy peaches. We know your family is dying for a bite of Derrick’s Special Garlic and Jalapeno Asparagus. We’ll keep the peaches for ourselves. Happy Holidays!

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