Spring has arrived! Trees are budding, birds are singing and asparagus is popping up all over. Time to pick up some fresh, local asparagus and get your pickling pants on. Keep these handy jars of deliciousness in your cupboard for quick appetizers. Wrap up a spear in some ham or just simply place them on a relish tray along side some fresh vegetables. Pickled asparagus can also be warmed and served as a side dish with sausage, pork chops or roasted game. And let's not forget to add a couple of tall, pickled asparagus spears to your favorite refreshing adult beverages this summer.
Things You'll Need
10 pounds fresh asparagus
2 red onions
6 large jalapeños
2 large garlic bulbs
10 cups white vinegar
12 1/2 cups water
5 tablespoons pickling spice
2 1/2 teaspoons dill weed
10 tablespoons canning salt
12 quart sized canning jars with lids and rings
Steamer canner (or hot water bath canner)
Wash then trim the asparagus to fit in jars.
Peel and slice the onions into large chunks. Peel and separate the garlic cloves. Cut the stems from the jalapeños and cut in half lengthwise. Leave the seeds in the jalapeños if you like your asparagus to have a bit of a kick.
Fill each sterilized jar with asparagus and add some onion slices, a few garlic cloves and one of the jalapeños.
To sterilize the jars, run them through the dishwasher with the dry cycle on high heat. Keep them in the dishwasher until you're ready to use them. If you don't have a dishwasher, you can hand wash them in soapy hot water, then place them upside down on the rack in the steamer canner with the lid on. The steam will sterilize them. Keep them in the canner until you're ready to use them.
To make the brine, combine 10 cups vinegar, 12 1/2 cups water, 5 tablespoons pickling spice, 2 1/2 teaspoons dill weed, and 10 tablespoons of canning salt in a large stock pot. Boil for 15 minutes.
Fill each asparagus filled jar with the boiled brine to 3/4 inch from the top. Secure a hot, sterilized two-piece lid onto each jar.
To sterilize the lids and rings, keep them in a pot of hot, simmering water until you're ready to use them.
Set the jars on the rack in the steamer canner. Place the canner lid over the jars. Turn the heat on medium high and process the jars for 25 minutes. Start the timer when you see visible steam coming from the hole in the canner lid.
After 25 minutes of processing, carefully remove the canner lid. Place the jars on a towel to cool for 24 hours. You will hear a slight popping sound as the jar lids seal. After 24 hours, check to make sure the lids have sealed by running your finger over the center of the lid. It should be tight. If you can push it down and hear a click, then the jar didn't seal. Place this jar in the refrigerator. The sealed jars of pickled asparagus will last in a cool dry place place for a year or so. An unsealed jar of pickled asparagus will last for several months in the refrigerator.