So last Tuesday I pickled 6 lbs of asparagus using a recipe I hadn’t tried before. It wasn’t actually a recipe, it was more of an experiment. I began canning in 2008 and back then I used standard Mason jars to pickle with. But three years ago, I learned that the canning jar lids have BPA in the lining of the lids. Ever since, I have been hoarding Weck jars. They are more expensive, but I LOVE them. If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you have likely already learned about my infatuation with WECK jars, but if not, you can read about it here. That said, the one problem I have run into is that I never know how many jars to clean or how many jars a recipe will yield because the jars that I use are all different sizes. (It is easier to eyeball with jams and harder with brines). The perk of this is that I am usually forced to quickly materialize a solution which has so far ended up with positive results and new favorite recipes.
I actually pickled 12 lbs of asparagus last week but the second “experimental recipe” didn’t turn out as well so I won’t be sharing that one. I was trying to hold out for two weeks before I tried the first batch I pickled, but with urging from my daughter, we decided to bust into a jar a week early and I’m sure glad we did. WOW! These are good. I’ve pickled asparagus in the past but this time the recipe was very different and very simple. I’d describe the flavor to be similar to a garlicky pickle; an asparagus pickle. They are perfect.
After tasting one spear, I decided I needed to try it out in a Bloody Mary. So I did.
So here’s what you’ll need to recreate this awesomeness…
- 6 lbs of fresh picked asparagus
- 1 Tablespoon of dried dill seed
- 1.5 bulbs of garlic (15-20 cloves), cleaned and slivered
- 1/2 cup of pickling salt (honestly, you could do less)
- 4 cups of white, distilled vinegar
- 4 cups of water – we use water from our reverse osmosis
- 1 Tablespoon of red pepper flakes (optional – add more for more spice)
- Jalapenos (optional)
You may need more or less brine depending on the jars you are using. I used 4 small asparagus jars and 2 large asparagus jars. If you are using standard Mason jars, then you will likely be fine with the amount of brine.
I bought my asparagus from the local farmer’s market. It was picked on Friday and canned by Sunday. Can’t really ask for anything fresher unless I grew it myself. I prefer to use medium-sized stalks, for some reason the really large ones totally turn me off. But use whichever floats your boat, they are going to taste great either way!
Clean the asparagus thoroughly. Snap off the ends at their natural point of breakage. (If that doesn’t make sense to you then just cut off the bottom 2″ or so). After it is all cleaned, blanch it. To blanch asparagus, heat a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Put the asparagus in the boiling water for 60 seconds and carefully remove.
Then set them on paper towels to dry off some.
At this point, you’ll need to trim the asparagus to fit in your jars. The cut-off 1″ or 2″ can be used in a soup, or sautéed, or simply pickled with the rest of the group. I always pickle the extra cut-off part. Remember to leave 1/2″ of head space in the jar.
Peel, rinse and sliver the garlic.
Put together the brine. In a large pot, combine the vinegar, water, pickling salt, dill seeds and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.
While the brine is heating up, divvy up the garlic among your jars. Begin packing the jars with asparagus. You want to pack them as tightly as you can without damaging any of the spears. I use a stainless steel chopstick to aid me in this task. Add jalapenos if you are looking for some spice.
Once you have all your jars packed, grab your funnel and pour the hot brine in the jars, leaving 1/2″ head space. Wipe the rims of your jars with a clean cloth, put on the lids and process for 10 minutes. If you are unfamiliar with water bath canning, please visit this resource.
Try your best to wait for these guys to pickle before devouring. The longer you wait, the better they’ll taste!
What is your favorite pickled treat?