Asparagus Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

Asparagus bundles
Renee Rendler-Kaplan, Photographer / Getty Images
  • 21 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 1 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart (8 portions)
Ratings (25)

These asparagus pickles have a much lighter flavor than canned asparagus pickles (which are much heavier on the vinegar). They are ready to eat in just a few days, but if you can manage to wait a week or two they will be even better.

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds asparagus spears
  • 1 pint water
  • 1/4 cup 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other non-iodized salt
  • 1 tablespoons sugar (or 2 teaspoons honey)
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 2 to 4 grape leaves (optional)
  • 2 dill flower heads (or 2 sprigs fresh dill leaves or 1 teaspoon dried dillweed)
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

How to Make It

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  2. While you are waiting for the water to come to a boil, wash and trim the asparagus. Trim it by holding each spear near either end and bending it gently. It will snap at exactly the borderline between the tougher bottom end and the more tender tip end. Save the bottom ends for making asparagus soup. You'll be using the tenderer part of each spear for these pickles.
  1. Once the pot of water is at a full rolling boil, drop all of the asparaguses in and leave it in for only 15 seconds. Drain the asparagus in a colander and immediately transfer it to the bowl of ice water.
  2. Bring the pint of water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil, stirring once or twice to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let the brine cool slightly while you load the quart jar (or 2-pint jars).
  3. Place the garlic cloves and one of the grape leaves, if using, into the bottom of a clean glass quart jar or a couple of pint-sized jars. Note that because these are refrigerator pickles they will not be canned so you do not need to use special canning jars or lids. You also do not need to sterilize the jars.
  4. Put the jar on its side and start loading in the asparagus spears, adding the remaining spices and herbs as you do so. Note that if you alternate tip end up with thicker end up, you will be able 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.
  5. Pour the cooled brine into the jar(s) over the other ingredients, being sure to completely cover the asparagus with the liquid. Secure the lid(s) and place in the refrigerator. The tips of the asparagus spears may take on a pink hue because of the vinegar - this is completely safe and even attractive in the finished product.
  6. The pickles will be ready to eat in 3 days but will be much better if you wait a week, and even better if you can wait 2 weeks before sampling. They will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 months but will start to lose their texture after that.

    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.

    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    Calories 78
    Total Fat 0 g
    Saturated Fat 0 g
    Unsaturated Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg
    Sodium 1,323 mg
    Carbohydrates 17 g
    Dietary Fiber 3 g
    Protein 4 g
    (The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)