|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 7g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 9mg||46%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Delicious spring asparagus is a delight to eat in salads, risottos, or simply on its own when grilled and sprinkled with some sea salt. Whenever you have an abundance of asparagus, pickling the spears using a refrigeration process is a quick and easy way to extend their shelf life. Although the process of pickling in itself is short, the asparagus will be tastier if you wait at least three days, and even better if you can wait a week or two before eating.
Our simple recipe for refrigerator asparagus pickles has a much lighter flavor than canned asparagus pickles, is a wonderful addition to cheese platters or antipasti, and is a healthier alternative to chips when you're craving something salty and crunchy. Think asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and topped with a poached egg or a few spears as the side of a baked salmon fillet or a beef roast.
Optional ingredients include grape leaves, which provide tannins and enzymes that help keep the asparagus crisp, lemon slices that increase the acid level and make the jar more attractive, and dried chiles for a spicy kick. However, if you choose to leave these ingredients out, your asparagus will still be delicious and make a wonderful addition to your meals.
2 pounds asparagus spears
1 pint water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, or another non-iodized salt
1 tablespoon sugar, or 2 teaspoons honey
4 cloves garlic
2 to 4 grape leaves, depending on jars used, optional
1 teaspoon dried dill weed, or 2 dill flower heads, or 2 sprigs fresh dill leaves
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1 slice lemon, optional
1 small dried chile pepper, optional
Clean and Blanch the Asparagus
Gather the ingredients.
Wash the asparagus. Trim the spears by holding each one near either end and bending it gently—it will snap exactly between the tougher bottom end and the tender tip end. Save the bottom ends for making asparagus soup or vegetable soup. The tender part of each spear is your asparagus for pickling. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
Once the pot of water is at a full rolling boil, drop in all of the asparagus spears and boil for only 15 seconds.
Drain the asparagus in a colander and immediately transfer it to the bowl of ice water. Drain after the asparagus spears have been submerged for 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
Make the Brine
Bring the pint of water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil, stirring once or twice to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the stove and allow to cool off.
Prepare the Jars
Place the garlic cloves and 1 of the grape leaves, if using, at the bottom of a clean glass quart jar or a couple of pint-sized jars. You do not need to use special canning jars and seals, and you don't need to sterilize the jars. Clean and dry jars will work perfectly.
Place the jar on its side and start loading in the asparagus spears, adding the dill, mustard seeds, lemon slice, and small dried chile, if using, as you do so. Placing some spears upside down will allow you to pack more asparagus spears into the jar. Be sure to pack the spears in tightly so that they will not float up out of the brine.
Pour the cooled brine into the jar making sure that the liquid completely covers the asparagus spears.
Secure the lid and place the jar in the refrigerator. The tips of the asparagus spears may take on a pink hue because of the vinegar—this is completely safe to eat.
The pickles will be ready to eat in three days, but one or two weeks makes them much better. Keep in the refrigerator for three to four months, although there will be some texture loss after a few weeks. Enjoy!
The relatively low ratio of vinegar to water in this recipe is part of what gives these pickles their bright, not overly pungent taste. Keep in mind, though, that this is less vinegar than you would need to make canned pickles for safely storing at room temperature. Keep these in the fridge.