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!
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.