While other bloggers have been posting about cooking the perfect asparagus soup or asparagus risotto, I must admit I prefer to enjoy the green veg a different way–by turning them into pickles and canning them. This allows me to enjoy them year round, and is a great excuse to eat more pickles!
Plus I’m totally being patriotic. Did you know that pickles helped Columbus’s crew travel the ocean without getting scurvy so they could discover America?
Did you also know I am totally the sort of person to look up a historical excuse for eating more of my favorite food?!
Good. I just want you to know who you’re dealing with here.
So as we all know, a pickle is a fruit or vegetable preserved in an acid, typically vinegar or citrus juice. There are two different ways to preserve pickles, with a brine or a pickling syrup. A brine is made of acid, water, salt, and seasonings or spices, whereas a pickling syrup is made by simmering vinegar, sugar, water and spices together. Syrups are used for sweeter pickles, and since this is a savory pickle, I made a brine for the asparagus.
For this particular pickle, it is important to trim all the asparagus so that it can fit tip down in the jar without going above the first bottom rim. If there is still part of the stalk left after trimming, it can be pickled right along with the tops.
The nice thing about these pickles is that the brine needs to be heated just until the salt dissolves and everything is hot. From there, I like to set out my hot canning jars and place one peeled and lightly smashed clove of garlic, 1 sprig of fresh dill, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes in the bottom of each. When packing the asparagus, I liked to make them fit nice and tight. The heat from the canning process will cause the vegetables to shrink, so the more you can fit in there, the more you prevent there being a large headspace in the jar after canning.
Then pour over the hot brine, place the lids on and can!
Some people like to get fancy with their pickled asparagus and toss it in a salad with cured meats and goat cheese, others like to use them as a garnish for a bloody mary, but me?
I like eating them straight from the jar.
Recipe: Leena’s Spicy Dill Pickled Asparagus
Summary: Inspired by several recipes from Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp
- 3 pounds of asparagus spears
- 3 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tsp kosher or pickling salt
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
- 8 fronds of dill
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
- Wash and cut each spear of asparagus long enough to fit a half pint jar leaving ¾ inch headspace.
- Remove the hot sterilized jars from where they are being stored and place a clove of garlic and a frond of dill at the bottom of each jar. Pack asparagus into the jar with the tips down.
- Combine the vinegar, water, salt and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot vinegar mix over asparagus to within ½ inch of the rim. Process 10 minutes for half pint jars, 15 minutes for pint jars. Allow jars to cool completely before storing, and allow to cure for at least a month before you try them. Store opened jars in the fridge.
Microformatting by hRecipe.