This recipe is my all-star pickled asparagus recipe. It involves packing raw, trimmed asparagus into jars, adding spices and garlic and pouring over the hot brine before canning (or not--see Recipe Notes.) You can adjust the seasonings but preserve the brine ratio of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Any less vinegar is unsafe and any more is--in my opinion--super tart. This is an excellent learning recipe for first time picklers.
Combine the vinegar, water and salt in a large pot, cover and bring to a simmer.
Fill your boiling water canner 2/3 full with hot water and bring to a boil covered on the stove while you prepare the asparagus. If it comes to a full boil before you're ready, turn down the heat or turn it off. Have 7 jars with lids and rings washed and sterilized.
Wash the asparagus in a sink full of cool water. Trim the woody ends and sort through the asparagus to find the straightest and the thickest to pickle. (Save the rest for grilled or roasted asparagus with dinner.)
Arrange the asparagus tip end down into sterilized quart jars, trimming more of the stem as necessary to fit with at least 1 inch of head space in the jar. (Reserve these asparagus pieces for stir fry or soup.)
Fill all 7 quart jars with the asparagus, packing tightly. Add the garlic, pickling spice, dill and crushed red pepper to each jar.
When the brine is hot, pour it into the jars and use a chop stick to remove air bubbles. Top off each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top for the required head space. Wipe the rims with a paper towel.
Put the lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Seal the jars with the lids and screw on the rings just finger tight.
Bring the canner back to a boil. Set each jar into the wire rack and place it onto the pot by the handles using hot pads. Slowly lower the rack so that it sits on the bottom and the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water.
Monitor the canner so that it maintains a steady boil for 10 minutes (15 minutes for elevations from 1,000-6,000 feet). Lay a dry dish towel on the counter nearby.
Turn off the heat. Then, lift the rack by the handles and set it on the edge of the pot. Use the jar lifter to remove the jars to the dish towel one at a time. To prevent the rack from tilting, remove jars opposite of one another and the center one last.
Let the jars cool on the countertop until you hear the lids seal with a pop. Once cooled, remove the rings and test the seals. Store in a cool and dry location for up to 1 year, should they last that long.
This recipe makes 7 quarts (or one full canner load) of asparagus pickles. If you prefer to make refrigerator pickles instead, you can reduce the recipe proportionately. For every quart of pickles, you'll need about 2 pounds of asparagus to sort through to find the best specimens for pickling and about 2 cups of brine (equal parts water and vinegar). Add the garlic and spices as directed in the recipe. Cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator. The pickles are ready to eat in a few days and are optimally flavored in about 2 weeks.
Copyright 2021 Lynne Curry