Monday, April 06, 2009

Pickled Asparagus: Tis' the Season!

I wait all year for this to happen, and then I move in for the kill. I’m talking about asparagus season! For Florida, fresh asparagus is obscenely expensive most of the year. It usually runs close to $4 a pound! But for a brief window of time, it’s in season and affordable. I buy as much as I can, gorge, and then make pickled asparagus.

I make this every year and I’m very protective of every little jar. Pickled asparagus is wonderful with any antipasta tray, chopped up in salads, served as a condiment, or my favorite, inside a sandwich wrap. Basically, anything you can do with a pickle, you can do with pickled asparagus. I also like that the spears never lose their crunch, and afterwards, the leftover brine makes a fan-friggin-tastic dirty martini!

Pickled Asparagus
Recipe source: The Joy of Pickling
Makes 5, 12 oz. jars

3 lbs of fresh asparagus (sometimes I need more or less, depending on spear thickness)
5 garlic cloves, peeled
15 allspice berries
50 black peppercorn berries
20 coriander seeds
Red pepper flakes
2 ½ cups white wine vinegar
2 ½ cups water
2 ½ tsp canning salt
2 T sugar

Trim asparagus to fit inside canning jars, giving ½ inch of space from the tip of the spears to the top of the jar. Prepare jars for hot water bath canning. In a saucepot, mix vinegar, water, salt, and sugar; bring to a boil. When brine has boiled, fill each hot jar with 1 garlic clove, 3 allspice berries, 10 black peppercorns, 4 coriander seeds, a dash or two of the red pepper flakes, and a pinch of nutmeg. Fill jars with asparagus spears, tips up, till comfortably full without packing. Ladle brine into jars, giving ½ inch headspace; top jars with prepared lids, then process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Wait 4-6 weeks before eating.

**Note: If you don't want to process for canning, just pour the hot brine over the asparagus and keep in the refridgerator.


Hillary said...

I've heard of all kinds of things being pickled but never asparagus! When do you serve pickled asparagus?

Just the Right Size said...

Hi Hillary,

You can serve pickled asparagus in just about any way you would a regular pickle! They're great as a condiment, in salads, on an antipasta tray, or my favorite, on sandwiches!

Anonymous said...

Didn't know it costs that much for a pound of asparagus in Florida!

I've got to try out this recipe! I also wonder if you can use this same technique for pickled green beans?

Thanks for posting and sharing!

Just the Right Size said...

Anon, yes you can use the same recipe for pickled green beans. Happy pickling!

We can't grow asparagus down here, so it's pretty darn expensive most of the year. April/May is my happy time every year!

T said...

Mmm.. as a garnish for a Caesar! Pickled asparagus will definitely help you to caese the day!

Just the Right Size said...

T, or even better, a garnish for a mean, spicey Bloody Mary!

Marysol said...

Never even crossed my mind to pickle asparagus.
They look so pretty in their jars; I really need to find out how they taste.

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