Pickled Asparagus: Too Pretty to Eat? We Think Not.

What You'll Need

  • 5 pounds of asparagus
  • 4 TBS red bell pepper
  • 2 TBS green bell pepper
  • 3 TBS minced garlic
  • 1 TBS dried chipotle peppers
  • 6 cups, plus a "splash" white distilled vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 5 tsp pickling salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons fresh or dried dill
  • 4 teaspoons Mustard Seed

Vinegar-brine pickling uses the water bath canning method. Always make sure you follow all safety guidelines outlined by the USDA when canning anything.

While the bounty of the summer harvest is still months away, there's still plenty to preserve in the garden. While nothing compares to the springtime freshness of asparagus--so fleeting! so delicious!--pickled asparagus is a joy in it's own right; tangy, rich and nutty, a perfect complement to a condiment platter or a bloody mary.  We canned some up the other day, in gorgeous half-liter Weck jars made just for that purpose.

The recipe called for the spears to be placed point down, so that in removing them from the jar to eat, the tender tips would not be damaged. We managed to follow the instructions for a few jars, but had to do a few jars with the tips facing upwards, too. Somehow the asparagus is such a vertically oriented plant, it seemed a shame to can it upside down. And the tips are so much more visible, and beautiful, crowning the top of the jar, than down on the bottom, sunk into the spices.

We may sing a different tune when the time comes to open and eat them, but for now, we're not sorry that we let esthetics trump practicality, just for a moment. Here our version of the recipe.

Pickled Asparagus Directions

This recipe fills 4 20 Ounce Weck Asparagus Jars

1) Clean and trim the asparagus

Snap or slice off the tough ends of 2 lbs of asparagus, trimming the spears to fit 3/4' below the top of the jar. Head space is important for a good seal! (We used the tender trimmed ends of the asparagus in breakfast eggs and stir fries, and the tough ends went into a broth.)


2) Blanch your asparagus

Briefly submerge the asparagus in boiling water to blanch it, then cover the trimmed, blanched asparagus with ice water and refrigerate for at least an hour.

3) Prepare jars, lids, and water bath canner.

Start heating the water now! (If you boil the jars as you heat the water, they will be warm and ready to pack into when the asparagus is ready. It helps to add a glug of white vinegar to the canning water, to prevent hard water deposits on the jars.) If you are not familiar with the waterbath canning method, check out our quick, easy Learn All About Waterbath Canning Video Workshop.


4) Prepare your pickling liquid and seasonings

Finely chop 4 TBS red bell pepper, 2 TBS green bell pepper, 3 TBS minced garlic, and 1 TBS dried chipotle peppers. Blend together and set aside.

Combine 6 cups white vinegar, 3 cups water, 5 tsp pickling salt, and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes.

Add the asparagus and return the liquid briefly to a boil before turning it off.

5) Pack your jars

Into the bottom of each warm jar, spoon some of the pepper mixture, and a heaping teaspoon each of dill and mustard seed. We ran out of dill and used pickling mix. That's good, too!

Place the hot asparagus, (tip up or tip down) into the warm jars, and pour the brine over them. Remember the head space!

6) Process your jars

Wipe the rims and fasten the lids to the jars. Process in the water bath canner for 10 minutes. Start your timing from the moment the water returns to a boil.

When using the tall asparagus jars, make extra sure that the water covers the top of the jars by at least an inch.

We made up some more vinegar bring and pickled some beets and carrots, too, a rainbow in Weck. Too beautiful to eat? We think not. But perhaps we will just gaze upon them for a while, before we eat them. After all, most vinegar pickles taste their best after a month of aging. The flavors meld together, and the sharpness of the vinegar is mellowed. In the meantime, we can dream.

Just looking at this tiny rainbow of canned goods is a reminder of all the harvest to come, an invitation, an inspiration to continue. Like the actual rainbow that shone, briefly, over our store on the last day of March, may it bring pleasure to all who set eyes upon it. Grin for no reason. It's spring.

Ready for the Next Step?

Check out our Must-Have List of Canning Supplies and Karla's Pickled Dilly Beans Recipe

Over to You

It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.

If you are not familiar with the water bath canning method watch our water bath canning video workshop. Always make sure you are following all safety guidelines outlined by the USDA when canning anything. Keeping a great journal leads to delicious results! Get inspired by new recipes, expert articles and homemade food adventures in our Monthly Journal.