March 17, 2012
Recipe: Pickled Asparagus

Spring will be here in three days. To celebrate here is a recipe that you can use in season. This recipe comes from our friends up north in El Dorado County. 

Spring is closing in and those tender and delicious asparagus tips are springing up as well. Asparagus is appearing stores and vegetable stands, as well as in some well thought out home gardens. One of the joys of preserving is pickling asparagus spears. Whether pickling your garden bounty or taking advantage of seasonal sales from the market, putting up some asparagus is a good idea.

Everyone loves pickled asparagus. It is not only delicious but it is also a beautiful addition to a relish tray, in salads or on a buffet table. It makes great gifts, too! Last but not least, think about entering your beautiful pickles in the El Dorado County Fair!

Pickled Asparagus

For six wide-mouth pint jars
10 pounds asparagus 
6 large garlic cloves 
4½ cups water 
4½ cups white distilled vinegar (5%) 
6 small hot peppers (optional) 
½ cup canning salt 
3 teaspoons dill seed

1.  Wash and rinse canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions.

2.   Wash asparagus well, but gently, under running water. Cut stems from the bottom to leave spears with tips that fit into the canning jar with a little less than ½-inch headspace. Peel and wash garlic cloves. Place a garlic clove at the bottom of each jar, and tightly pack asparagus into jars with the blunt ends down.

3.    In an 8-quart Dutch oven or saucepot, combine water, vinegar, hot peppers (optional), salt and dill seed. Bring to a boil. Place one hot pepper (if used) in each jar over asparagus spears. Pour boiling hot pickling brine over spears, leaving ½-inch headspace.

4.    Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two-piece metal canning lids.

5.    Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.  Let cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.

Allow pickled asparagus to sit in processed jars for 3 to 5 days before consumption for best flavor development.