Top | The Joy of Pickling

Pickled Asparagus

(recipe, Linda Ziedrich)

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This canned pickle is so much the rage now that you can even buy it in warehouse stores. But you can save money by making your own, even if you don't have an asparagus patch. I pickle asparagus in 12-ounce jelly jars, which are a little taller than pint jars — just right for the tender portion of an asparagus stalk. Some people like to pack asparagus into the jars with the tips down, so that the spears are easy to remove without breaking them, but others think that asparagus looks more attractive with the tips up. Pack your pickles either way.


  1. 5 large garlic cloves, sliced
  2. 15 allspice berries
  3. 30 black peppercorns
  4. 20 coriander seeds
  5. 5 small pieces of mace or nutmeg
  6. ½ tsp. chile flakes (optional)
  7. About 3 pounds asparagus, trimmed to fit into 12-ounce jelly jars
  8. 2½ cups white-wine vinegar
  9. 2½ cups water
  10. 2½ tsp. pickling salt
  11. 2 Tbsp. sugar


  1. Divide the garlic, allspice, peppercorns, coriander, mace or nutmeg, and chile flakes (if you're using them) among five 12-ounce jelly jars. Pack the asparagus vertically in the jars, tips down or up.
  2. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the hot liquid over the asparagus, leaving ½ inch of headspace.
  3. Close the jars with two-piece caps. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath, or pasteurize the jars for 30 minutes in water heated to 180 to 185 degrees.
  4. Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least three weeks before eating the asparagus.