Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pickled Asparagus

I have learned to be a food preservationist in the last couple of years.  I grew up seeing my mom can and freeze and dehydrate, but it really didn't interest me back then. It was something old people did. :)

Now, I LOVE it! Maybe that means I'm old. 

I got eleven pounds of asparagus from Bountiful Baskets last week, with hopes of trying out pickling some of it. Well, I ended up pickling all of it. And I'm glad I did, because it is some delicious stuff. Even my pickiest eater liked it! 

Here it is all plated pretty-like. See all those yummy canning spices? Mmm, mmm.

Here it is all done! My recipe made 6 quarts. That seventh jar has pickled peppers. I used the leftover vinegar mixture to can some green chilies I had been needing to use up. They turned out yummy, too. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers....

I just think asparagus is a lovely vegetable. It is up there with artichokes on the aesthetic scale. I might need to do a painting of some to put in my kitchen.  This picture is pre-trimming. I needed to trim to 6" to fit them in my quart-size jars.

Here are your basic pickling needs. I tried out the pickle crisper (with the green lid) for the first time on this recipe. I had success with cucumber pickles without it, but asparagus just seemed more flimsy to start with, so I thought it would be worth trying it to insure success. It worked!

The blanching process was not a part of every recipe I read before making these. I decided it was better to be safe than sorry, so I blanched them. 1.5 minutes in the boiling water....

...Then immediately in the ice bath. I love how green they looked when I got them out of the pot!

The jars are all STUFFED full. They have a slice of white onion on the bottom, then the asparagus spears, then the red bell peppers (I put those in half of them), and a clove of garlic on top. Then ladle the hot brine over the pretty veggies, filling to 1/2" from the rim.

In the water-bath canner for 20 minutes.  Lids don't have to be covered with water. Water should come at least to neck of bottle, though.

These make a great addition to a deli or relish tray. I have seen them served along side sushi, salad, or wraps. I like them alone or with some cottage cheese. Enjoy!

Pickled Asparagus
Makes 6 Quarts

You'll need: 
11 lbs fresh Asparagus, trimmed to 6 inches
3 quarts water
2 quarts distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons pickling spice
1 cup pickling salt
6 garlic cloves
1/2 white onion, sliced
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
1 Red bell pepper, sliced (optional)
Pickling crisper granules (optional)
6 sanitized quart size mason jars. Wide mouth would be nice, but I used regular because that's what I have.
Lids, rings, canning tools

1. Blanch your asparagus: Prepare a large bowl or pot with 2-3 cups of ice.  Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Immerse asparagus in boiling water for 1.5 minutes. Remove immediately and put in ice bowl. Cover with cold water.  I had to do this in 2 batches for this much asparagus.
2. Mix water, vinegar, pickling spice, and salt (and sugar if you are using it) in a large pot/ dutch oven.  Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn on to low to keep warm.  I wanted some sweet, but not all, so  I added sugar after I filled half of my jars.
3. Put a slice of onion in the bottom of each jar. Stuff the jars with the asparagus, crowns on top.  If you are using bell pepper, slide a few slices into each jar. I used the bell peppers in half of mine (the ones I made sweet).  Put a garlic clove and crisper granules (if using) on top of the asparagus.
4. Using a canning funnel, carefully ladle the hot vinegar mixture into each of the jars, filling to 1/2 inch from the top.
5. Clean the rims and set the sanitized lids on each jar. Put on rings and turn to a loose seal. (finger tight--not palm tight).
6. Process in a water bath for 20 minutes.
7. Store in a dark, cool place until ready to enjoy!


  1. Yours turned out pretty. :) When we pickled asparagus last year we ended up calling it asparagrass! It was skinny to start with, and shriveled into what looked like grass. It tasted great cut into tuna salad, but would have looked silly on a relish tray.

    1. Thanks, Julie. I think it helped that the asparagus wasn't super skinny (though I prefer skinny when I'm baking it). It's also nice to hear of someone else who has tried this. Several people seem to have never heard of pickling asparagus.