Pickled asparagus

We were veritable pickling machines at our pickling party, and thus was able to also pickle a bit of purple asparagus. It was amusing to see that the purple did not last long, as the pickle juice was a lovely shade of magenta by the time we put the jar of pickles on the shelf.


from The Joy of Pickling
Makes 5 12-oz jars

5 large garlic cloves, sliced
15 whole allspice berries
30 whole black peppercorns
20 whole coriander seeds
5 small pieces of mace or nutmeg
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
~3 lbs asparagus, trimmed to fit
2-1/2 cups white wine vinegar
2-1/2 cups water
2-1/2 tsp pickling salt
2 tbsp sugar

Divide the garlic, allspice, peppercorns, coriander, mace or nutmeg and hot pepper flakes among five jars. Pack the asparagus vertically in the jars, tips down or up. In a saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water, salt and sugar, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the hot liquid over the asparagus, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Close the jars with 2-piece caps and process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 3 weeks before eating. After opening a jar, store in the refrigerator.


A few notes on preparation: we used quart jars instead of 12-oz jars. We also used purple asparagus instead of green.

The flavour profile of these pickles was well-balanced between sweet and tart, with a bit of spiciness thrown in. We’d actually made this recipe before with likely sub-par asparagus, so this was a marked improvement. They had nice body, both in flavour and texture. D noted that he should have peeled them at the bottom before pickling. Though these haven’t been stringy, he thinks that it could potentially be a problem for the bigger stalks.

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