I learned to preserve fruit and vegetables each season by the two most important women in my life, my gramma Winget and my mom. It wasn’t until I moved to Newport in my late 20’s that I bottled pickled asparagus for the first time with my husband's gramma Tami, we called her GG. I was lucky enough to have her as one of my best friends. She and I bought over 50 lbs of fresh Oregon Asparagus the spring of 2001. That’s when I learned that I love my pickled asparagus a little more spicy, the red chili flakes and a little extra vinegar make it so delicious! It took us two full days of cleaning, cutting and bottling our asparagus to finally get it pickled. We enjoyed that asparagus for months.

For spice lovers out there, the addition of red pepper flakes adds heat and complexity. 

The recipe is similar to the basic pickled asparagus recipe, but the brine includes a bit of sugar to balance the peppery heat.

Try adding more pepper flakes, or other spicy elements (jalapeno, etc.) if they suit your taste for heat.

While you can just quick refrigerated asparagus for immediate consumption, you’ll need to actually can these pickles if you want to enjoy them year-round.

Your homemade pickled asparagus is perfectly fine for canning. The amount of salt/sugar doesn’t impact canning safety, just the vinegar.

Spicy pickled asparagus

Ingredients:

3 cups water

5 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)

1/2 cup pickling and canning salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 onion, thinly sliced

6-12 garlic cloves

6 tsp to 6 tbsp dried crushed red pepper, depending on level of heat you prefer.

6 tsp mustard seeds

2 tablespoons of pickling spice (a must have!) Add 1-2 sprigs of fresh dill to each jar.

Directions:

Prepare a water bath canner, if canning. Skip this step for refrigerator pickles.

Wash and trim asparagus, removing woody ends.

Cut asparagus to fit in jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.

Add sliced onions, garlic cloves and whole spices directly to each jar (1 tsp per jar for most spices).

In a large saucepan, heat liquid brine ingredients (vinegar/water) along with sugar, salt and any ground spices. Allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil, then remove from heat.

Pour the hot brine over the asparagus spears in jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.

Cap the jars with 2 part canning lids.

If canning, process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes for shelf-stable asparagus pickles (12-18 month shelf life).

For refrigerator pickles, allow the jars to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator (roughly 1-month shelf life refrigerated).

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