What Is Pickled Asparagus?

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  • Written By: Dan Harkins
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 11 May 2020
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Asparagus, from the Asparagus officinalis plant of the lily family, sprouts in the spring or early summer at the latest, so preservation is imperative for those who cannot use this nutritional harvest all at once. Every vegetable that is suitable for pickling will need slightly different ingredients to complement its unique flavor and texture. Pickled asparagus typically requires a process of heating jars and blanching the asparagus, followed by immersion in a hot liquid of vinegar, salt and any number of other suitable spices like garlic, coriander, cumin, hot pepper, dill, allspice and cumin. Though the asparagus will not be ready to eat for a month, it will keep for up to a year if prepared correctly.

The key ingredient for pickled asparagus is clean, fresh asparagus, of course. After washing the unblemished stalks, they should be chopped to a height that will allow them to stand in the jar with just a finger's width of spare room at the top. Before they go into the jars though, asparagus stalks should be blanched by dropping them into boiling water, then removing them as soon as the water returns to a boil. They should then be placed in ice water to immediately stop the cooking process.

With the spears packed into heated jars, a white wine or plain white vinegar mixture is brought to boil on the stove. For about 5 lbs. (about 2.268 kg) of pickled asparagus, one recipe calls for 2.25 cups (about 530 ml) of vinegar and 4 tbsp. (nearly 60 g) of salt. After the salt has fully dissolved into into the vinegar, it is poured over the spears in the jars. Then, two cloves of sliced garlic, 1 tsp. (about 5 g) of dill seed and 0.25 tsp. (about 1.5 g) each of hot pepper flakes, coriander seed, cumin and allspice are spread among the jars.

Many recipes for pickled asparagus are much simpler, leaving off all but the salt, pepper, dill and vinegar. Once the asparagus spears are submerged and seasoned, the lids can be screwed on according to the manufacturer's instructions. The jars should be kept in a dark place at room temperature or below for four weeks. Once opened, the jars must be refrigerated to prevent spoilage.

Pickled asparagus is just one of many types of vegetables that can easily be canned for usage later in the year. Perhaps the most common are cucumbers and peppers. Others that routinely get the pickling treatment are radishes, mushrooms, onions, green tomatoes, beets, baby carrots and green beans.


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