Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.
When I was a brand new canner, pickled asparagus was one of my very first projects. Asparagus has long been one of my favorite vegetables and so, when it went on sale in mid-spring, I bought several bundles, consulted a multitude of cookbooks and set to work.
I quickly learned that pickling asparagus was a task well worth doing (particularly since commercial versions can cost as much as $12 a jar) and added it to my list of mandatory yearly recipes. I have since made at least 100 jars and every year, I still run out well before asparagus season arrives again.
In my area, we still have at least a month before local asparagus arrives in the markets. However, for those of you who are starting to see bundles in your stores and farm shares, I highly recommend getting to work on a few jars. Here are a few things that are helpful to know before you tackle your first batch.
Use the freshest asparagus you can find for these pickles. Older asparagus shrivels a great deal during processing. It happens to some extent with every batch, but the fresher the spears, the plumper they’ll remain.
Don’t skip the blanching step. It softens the asparagus and allows the pickling liquid to soak in more effectively.
If you don’t have these handy 24 ounce jars, opt for the quilted 12 ounce jelly jars. The taller the jar, the less you have to trim away.
Oh, and save those woody ends. Simmered with spring peas and then pureed, they make a tasty, simple soup.
The recipe below makes a kicky pickled spear. If you prefer something with a little less spice, leave out the cayenne.
|Spicy Pickled Asparagus||
- 3 pounds asparagus, trimmed to fit your jars
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 2 tablespoons pickling salt
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and two 24-ounce jars (you can also substitute four 12-ounce jelly jars). Place lids in a small pan of water and bring to a bare simmer.
- Combine apple cider vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Fill a pan with several inches of water and bring to a boil.
- While the blanching pot heats, wash asparagus and trim to fit in your jars.
- When water is boiling, blanch asparagus for 60 seconds. When time is up, transfer asparagus to a colander and rinse with cold water.
- Remove jars from the canning pot and drain. Divide garlic cloves, crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper evenly between jars. Pack asparagus spears into jars.
- Pour pickling liquid over the asparagus, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Tap jars gently to remove any air bubbles. Add more liquid to return headspace to 1/2 inch, if necessary.
- Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel.
- Let them cure for at least a week before eating.
What’s your favorite way to eat asparagus?