Pickled Asparagus

Indulging in the delightful taste of pickled asparagus is a treat that can be enjoyed any time of the year, even beyond the short-lived asparagus season. 

While preserving asparagus may seem tricky, especially since it is typically enjoyed fresh during its peak season, one preservation method stands out for its exceptional results: pickling.

Preserving asparagus through pickling not only retains its firm texture but also allows the fresh flavor of asparagus to shine through, thanks to the added salt in the brine and the acidity from the pickling vinegar. 

You may be wondering if pickled asparagus would end up being soggy, but rest assured, they actually hold up remarkably well, both in terms of texture and flavor, even surpassing the durability of cucumber pickles.

So, let's dive into the wonderful world of pickled asparagus, where we'll explore the art of preserving this delectable vegetable to enjoy its unique taste and crispness throughout the year. 

How to make Pickled Asparagus

How to make Pickled Asparagus

Making pickled asparagus is a great way to preserve this vegetable for use throughout the year. Here's a simple recipe for pickled asparagus:

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs fresh asparagus
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt (can substitute with kosher salt)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dill seeds (or 4 fresh dill sprigs if you have them)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
  • 4 sterilized pint-sized canning jars with lids

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the asparagus: Trim the asparagus spears to fit the height of your canning jars, leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace. The bottom ends that get trimmed off can be saved for another use, like soup.
  2. Make the pickling brine: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Keep this mixture hot but not boiling as you pack the jars.
  3. Pack the jars: Divide the sliced garlic, mustard seeds, dill seeds, and red pepper flakes (if using) equally between your sterilized jars. Pack the trimmed asparagus spears into the jars as tightly as possible without smashing.
  4. Pour the brine: Carefully pour the hot pickling brine over the asparagus in each jar, leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace. Make sure the asparagus spears are fully submerged in the brine.
  5. Remove air bubbles: Run a clean chopstick or a bubble remover tool around the inside of the jar to remove any trapped air bubbles.
  6. Seal the jar: To seal the jars properly, start by wiping the rims with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue. Then, place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings until they are fingertip-tight.
  7. Process the jars: Use a canner or a large pot with a rack to process the jars. Lower them into boiling water, ensuring they are fully submerged.
  8. Cool and store: Carefully remove the jars from the boiling water using jar lifters. Let them cool on a towel for 12-24 hours. Once cooled, ensure each jar has been sealed properly. Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Any jars that didn't seal properly should be refrigerated and consumed within a few weeks.

Remember, the flavor develops over time, so wait at least 2 weeks before opening a jar to eat. Enjoy!

Pickled Asparagus Recipes

Quick Pickled Asparagus Recipe

This recipe is adapted from my original homemade dill pickles recipe, but I've left out the dill. Feel free to include dill seeds or fresh dill if you prefer, but I believe that the asparagus' distinct taste is more pronounced without the dill.

The pickling process employs simple spices like mustard seeds, onion, and garlic to enhance the natural taste of the asparagus without overpowering it.

The pickling brine uses an equal ratio of vinegar to water, ensuring the resulting pickles aren't excessively sour. Just a hint of salt is used to highlight the flavors. Sugar is completely excluded from the recipe, making these pickles a suitable choice for those adhering to paleo, low-carb, or diabetic-friendly diets.

Spicy Pickled Asparagus Recipes

For those who enjoy a touch of spiciness, incorporating red pepper flakes can contribute an extra layer of heat and depth to the recipe.

This recipe parallels the quick pickled asparagus method, but the brine has a slight sweetness to counterbalance the spice from the pepper.

You're welcome to increase the amount of pepper flakes, or even introduce other spicy components such as jalapenos, to align with your personal heat preference.

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