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Delicious Pickled Asparagus Recipe

Did you know that pickled asparagus can be more than just a condiment? If you’re a fan of tangy treats and crave a zesty crunch in your meals, then it’s time to expand your horizons and discover the versatile ways in which this preserved vegetable can be enjoyed.

Jars of pickled asparagus on a wooden counter.

Why I Love Pickled Asparagus

If you’ve been around for long, you’ll know my family’s love of charcuterie. It’s such a fast and simple lunch and perfect for a homestead, as some of the main ingredients are staples here on Riverbend.

Cured meats, homemade cheeses and pickled goodies are staples year-round. If you haven’t seen them before, be sure to check out our posts on how to make pickles, refrigerator pickles, pickled zucchini, pickled garlic and pickled snap peas. Then, if you have asparagus growing in your yard, you’ll also want to see our asparagus soup recipe.

If you didn’t know, asparagus is a perennial vegetable that produces edible shoots or “spears” from spring to early summer. This is long before most annual vegetables are ready to pick. It’s adaptable and easy to keep, other than the fact that it takes a few years to produce enough spears to eat.

However, once asparagus plants are established, they can be harvested for 20 years or more.

Supplies and ingredients to make pickled asparagus on a wooden counter.

What Does Pickled Asparagus Taste Like

When you take a bite of pickled asparagus, you’ll immediately notice its tangy “pickled” flavor. But the taste of pickled asparagus doesn’t stop at tanginess. Because of the herbs and seasonings, you’ll get a great zesty flavor profile as well.

In addition to its distinct taste, pickled asparagus offers a satisfying crunch that adds another layer of enjoyment to each bite (making it a perfect addition to your charcuterie board).

Cured bacon cut into slices.

Pickled Asparagus Serving Suggestions

Whether you’re planning a light appetizer or a hearty main dish, pickled asparagus adds a zesty twist that will delight your taste buds.

  • Antipasto Platter – Create a vibrant antipasto platter by arranging pickled asparagus alongside other marinated vegetables, olives, cured meats, and cheeses. The tangy flavors of the pickled asparagus pair beautifully with the savory goodness of the other elements, making it a perfect appetizer for any gathering.
  • Pickled Asparagus Bruschetta – Elevate your bruschetta game by topping toasted baguette slices with a generous layer of creamy goat cheese or ricotta, followed by a couple of pickled asparagus spears. Finish it off with a drizzle of balsamic glaze or raw honey for a delightful combination of flavors.
  • Pickled Asparagus Salad – Add a pop of color and tangy crunch to your salads by incorporating pickled asparagus. Toss it with fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, feta cheese, and a simple homemade vinaigrette for a refreshing side salad or a light lunch option.
  • Pickled Asparagus Wrap – For a quick and wholesome snack, roll pickled asparagus spears with slices of traditionally cured bacon. You can also layer them with cream cheese for added creaminess.
  • Pickled Asparagus Pasta – Add a burst of flavor to your pasta dishes by mixing in sliced pickled asparagus. Combine it with cooked homemade pasta, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and grated Parmesan cheese for a simple yet satisfying meal that comes together in minutes.
  • Pickled Asparagus Bloody Mary – Elevate your brunch experience by using pickled asparagus as a garnish for your Bloody Mary. The tangy kick of the asparagus complements the spicy tomato-based cocktail, adding a unique twist to this classic drink.
Sliced fresh asparagus in a bowl.

Do You Have to Blanch Asparagus Before Pickling?

Blanching is an optional step that involves briefly cooking the asparagus spears in boiling water, followed by plunging them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Blanching serves several purposes when preparing asparagus for pickling.

First, blanching helps preserve the asparagus spears’ vibrant green color, ensuring they stay visually appealing even after pickling. Second, blanching helps tenderize the asparagus while maintaining its crispness, resulting in a satisfying crunch in every bite.

Another important reason to blanch asparagus before pickling is that it helps to remove any impurities and natural enzymes present in the asparagus. These enzymes can cause the asparagus to become mushy and lose its texture during the pickling process. Blanching effectively deactivates these enzymes, ensuring that your pickled asparagus maintains its firmness.

How to Blanch Asparagus

To blanch asparagus for pickling, follow these simple steps:

  1. Trim the tough ends of the asparagus spears.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt.
  3. Add the asparagus spears to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they turn bright green and become slightly tender.
  4. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the blanched asparagus to a bowl filled with ice water.
  5. Allow the asparagus to cool, and then drain them well before proceeding with the pickling process.
Supplies and ingredients to make pickled asparagus on a wooden counter.

What Is the Grey Stuff on Pickled Asparagus?

Have you ever noticed a grey discoloration on your pickled asparagus? Don’t fret; it’s a common occurrence.

The grey substance on pickled asparagus is often a harmless natural reaction caused by oxidation. When asparagus is exposed to air, enzymes in the vegetable react with oxygen, resulting in a change in color. This discoloration can range from a light grey to a more pronounced dark grey or brownish hue.

While the grey discoloration may not be visually appealing, rest assured that it doesn’t necessarily indicate spoilage or contamination.

So, is it safe to eat pickled asparagus with grey discoloration? In most cases, yes! The grey color is superficial and doesn’t affect the taste or quality of the pickled asparagus.

To minimize discoloration on your pickled asparagus, you can blanch the asparagus before pickling. It’s important to note that if the pickled asparagus displays any signs of mold, off odors, or sliminess, it’s best to discard it. These are indications of spoilage and should not be consumed.

Supplies and ingredients to make pickled asparagus on a wooden counter.

Tips for the Best Pickled Asparagus

Looking to create the perfect pickled asparagus? Here are my top tips and tricks to help you achieve pickled asparagus perfection:

  • Select the Freshest Asparagus – When pickling asparagus, freshness is key. Look for firm and vibrant green spears with tightly closed tips. Avoid spears with any signs of wilting or discoloration.
  • Prepare the Asparagus Correctly – Before pickling, trim the tough ends of the asparagus spears. You can easily break off the woody part or use a knife to make a clean cut.
  • Create a Flavorful Pickling Liquid – The pickling liquid is what gives pickled asparagus its tangy and tasty flavor. Experiment with combinations of vinegar (such as white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar), water, salt, sugar, and spices to find the perfect balance of flavors.
  • Infuse Additional Flavors – Enhance the taste of your pickled asparagus by adding flavorings like garlic cloves, dill seeds, ginger, or peppers with different levels of heat.
  • Use Proper Sterilization Techniques – To secure the longevity and safety of your pickled asparagus, sterilize your canning jars and lids before filling them with the pickled asparagus. This helps prevent spoilage and extends the shelf life.
  • Give It Time to Pickle – Patience is key when it comes to pickling asparagus. Allow the asparagus to marinate in the pickling liquid for at least a few days (ideally two weeks) to develop the tangy flavors fully. The longer you wait, the more intense the flavor becomes.
  • Store Pickled Asparagus Properly – Canned asparagus is shelf stable until it is opened. After opening, keep your remaining pickled asparagus refrigerated in airtight jars or containers. This will help maintain its quality and flavor. Remember to label and date your jars for easy tracking. Also know that pickled asparagus is best when consumed within one year of canning. It can become mushy if it sits on the pantry shelf for too long.
In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine cover with fresh asparagus on the front.

In the Homestead Kitchen

This recipe was featured in issue No. 33 of In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine. Subscribe now to receive your monthly copy of this digital magazine to provide you with inspiration, delicious recipes and proven resources to help you start thriving on your homestead.

We have had numerous requests for a print version, and we are excited to announce that it will be coming in January 2025. So subscribe today to lock in your price!

In the meantime, enjoy your digital subscription with bonus access to an entire library of Homesteading Family’s in-depth instructional videos, curated to provide additional resources as you grow your homestead.

Supplies and ingredients to make pickled asparagus on a wooden counter.

Supplies Needed

A pot of pickling brine next to fresh asparagus.

Ingredients Needed

  • Asparagus – Make sure to use fresh, crisp asparagus for the best results.
  • Water – Filtered water works best.
  • White VinegarApple scrap vinegar is perfect to use in many recipes. However, I don’t recommend homemade vinegar for canning because you cannot test the acidity level. When canning, always choose vinegar that has been tested for an acidity of at least 5%.
  • Pickling Salt – You can also use Kosher salt without anti-caking agents such as Redmond Real Salt. Homesteading Hack: Using that link with promo code “HFSalt” will get you 15% off your order!
  • Dill Seed – Learn how easy it is to grow your own dill here!
  • Garlic ClovesFreeze-dried garlic can also be used.
  • Peppers – For additional heat, you can add 3 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper (or six small hot peppers.)
Canning supplies sitting on a wooden counter top.

Canning Pickled Asparagus

Safety Note: Because asparagus is not acidic, it must be canned under pressure to be safe. When canning pickled asparagus, vinegar adds the acidity that makes the waterbath method possible. For canning non-pickled asparagus, pressure-canning is the only safe preservation method.

  1. Prepare your jars, lids, rings, and waterbath canner:
    • a. Wash the jars, lids, and bands with hot soapy water. Keep the clean jars warm.
    • b. Fill the canner ⅔ full with water and turn it on to warm.
  2. Prepare your preserve:
    • a. Rinse asparagus well. Cut from the stem end to make spears 4 1/4 inches tall, enough to leave just under ½ inch of headspace in your pint jars.
    • b. In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, combine water, vinegar, salt, and dill seed. Bring the brine mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer while packing jars.
  3. Fill your jars and put the lids on:
    • a. Place one crushed clove of garlic in each pint jar. Tightly pack the asparagus, cut ends down, into each jar, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace. Return the brine to a boil.
    • b. Place one hot pepper or ½ teaspoon of pepper flakes (if using) in each jar, gently pressing it in between the spears. Pour boiling hot pickling brine over spears, leaving ½ inch headspace.
    • c. Release all the bubbles, add more liquid if necessary, clean the jar rims, and screw on the bands.
    • d. Place the jars in the canner, making sure that the water is 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the jars.
  4. Process the jars in boiling water:
    • a. Once the water has come to a full rolling boil, start a timer for 10 minutes (adjust for elevation).
    • b. After the full processing time is completed, turn off the heat.
  5. Remove the jars from the canner:
    • a. Take the lid off the canner and let the jars sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
    • b. Set the jars on a clean kitchen towel to cool completely (for 16 to 24 hours.)
  6. Check seals and clean the jars:
    • a. Check each seal, remove the bands, and clean each jar with room temperature water.
  7. Store jars:
    • a. Label each clean jar.
    • b. Store out of direct light.

Now that you know how easy it is to pickle asparagus, make the most of its delicious flavor and vibrant color by adding it to salads, sandwiches, and wraps, or even enjoy it straight from the jar as a refreshing snack.

Did you try making pickled asparagus? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below, then snap a photo of your finished jars and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!

Overhead view of asparagus in jars for pickled asparagus.
Jars of pickled asparagus on a wooden counter.

Pickled Asparagus Recipe (+ Canning Directions)

Learn to make delicious pickled asparagus with this recipe. Then water bath can them so you can enjoy them all year long.
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Course: Condiment, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 pints
Calories: 166kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Waterbath Canner
  • Canning Jars & Lids
  • Large Saucepan
  • Paring Knife
  • Bubble Remover

Ingredients

  • 8 pounds asparagus
  • 4.5 cups water
  • 4.5 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 3 teaspoons dill seed
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes or six small hot peppers

Instructions

Prepare Jars, Lids & Rings

  • Wash the jars, lids, and bands with hot soapy water. Keep the clean jars warm.
  • Fill the canner ⅔ full with water and turn it on to warm.

Prepare Asparagus

  • Rinse asparagus well. Cut from the stem end to make spears 4 1/4 inches tall, enough to leave just under ½ inch of headspace in your pint jars.
  • In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, combine water, vinegar, salt, and dill seed. Bring the brine mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer while packing jars.

Fill Jars

  • Place one crushed clove of garlic in each pint jar. Tightly pack the asparagus, cut ends down, into each jar, leaving 1⁄2 inch headspace. Return the brine to a boil.
  • Place one hot pepper or ½ teaspoon of pepper flakes (if using) in each jar, gently pressing it in between the spears. Pour boiling hot pickling brine over spears, leaving ½ inch headspace.
  • Release all the bubbles, add more liquid if necessary, clean the jar rims, and screw on the bands.
  • Place the jars in the canner, making sure that the water is 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the jars.

Process

  • Once the water has come to a full rolling boil, start a timer for 10 minutes (adjust for elevation).
  • After the full processing time is completed, turn off the heat.
  • Take the lid off the canner and let the jars sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  • Set the jars on a clean kitchen towel to cool completely (for 16 to 24 hours.)
  • Check each seal, remove the bands, and clean each jar with room temperature water.
  • Label each clean jar. Store out of direct light.

Nutrition

Serving: 1jar | Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 9473mg | Potassium: 1271mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 4870IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 13mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
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