Make Ahead

Pickled Asparagus

April 15, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 2 quarts
Author Notes

Asparagus season always feels too short to me, and pickling is a delicious way to extend it. I am a fan of quick pickles and their instant gratification. These pickled spears taste of grass and green -- spring's flavors. I can imagine endless ways to devour them, such as a simple appetizer with homemade mayo to dip in, chopped in a salad, or served with polenta and a poached egg (eggs and asparagus always make a lovely marriage together). My best suggestion, though? Straight from the jar. —BlueKaleRoad

Test Kitchen Notes

I am always happy when I see asparagus at the farmers market. Spring is here, and my favorite vegetable is fresh and crisp! Blue Kale Road's pickled asparagus is a departure for me, and I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is. I am a fan of pickled anything, and the asparagus retains its crunch, gently spiced with garlic and red pepper flakes and given an infusion of herbs. I used white balsamic vinegar for the brine and reduced the sugar by half because the vinegar was sweet. The quick refrigerator method is exactly what I was looking for: almost instant gratification. They are great straight up, but I layered them on an egg salad sandwich. Delicious! —sdebrango

What You'll Need
  • 3 1/2 cups white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 10 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 5 garlic cloves, halved
  • Crushed red chili flakes
  • 2 1/2 pounds (or 2 bunches) of asparagus, ends trimmed (save for making veggie stock)
  1. For the brine, combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Divide the dill, garlic, a few shakes of red pepper flakes, and asparagus spears between 2 sterilized, quart-sized jars.
  3. Carefully fill the jars with the brine to within 1/2 inch of the top of the rim, covering the asparagus completely. Discard any leftover brine. Place lids on the jars and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • JenHngo
  • Scott
  • jwlucas
  • Rivka
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
I am a passionate home cook and love gathering my family and friends around the table.

47 Reviews

christopher S. September 23, 2015
Wow I'm so glad your picture shows the asparagus as a little "wrinkly." I found a magazine recipe similar yours and their picture was wrinkle free (probably BC they didn't actually pickle them and just wanted an enticing photo). Also, this was my first foray unto pickling and I have a question: will it matter if I packed these loosely instead of filling out the entire jar space with asparagus? Did I do it wrong? You can give it to me straight ;)
BlueKaleRoad September 24, 2015
Hi Christopher, I'm delighted you're making pickled asparagus! Definitely a favorite of ours. I don't think it matters at all if the jar is packed long as the spears are in the pickling liquid you should be good. I hope you enjoy it!
Judith A. May 18, 2014
I use 2 teaspoons of dill seed per quart in my recipe...
Bleileb May 18, 2014
Could you use dill seed instead? How much would equal a sprig of dill?
BlueKaleRoad May 19, 2014
I would use 1-2 teaspoons per quart, depending upon how "dilly" a flavor you like. Hope you enjoy the asparagus!
Judith A. April 25, 2014
I do a Pickled Asparagus that includes Pickling Spice sans clove buds in a 3qt water/2qt vinegar/10T salt/1 T Pickling Spice brine... and quick blanch (1 minute) the spears, ice chill, pack in warm jars w/2 cloves garlic & 2 t dill seed, pour hot brine over, put on hot lids and rings, invert on towel and they will seal themselves.. never had a problem... My recipe calls for it to set two weeks before enjoying... 10 pounds asparagus makes 6 quarts... Guys, especially, Love It...
BlueKaleRoad May 12, 2014
Your asparagus sounds delicious, Judith!
ROBIN April 16, 2014
BlueKaleRoad April 22, 2014
Hi Robin, yes - the asparagus is raw. The hot brine cooks/softens it just enough.
JenHngo April 12, 2014
Hi, does regular vinegar work? :-/
BlueKaleRoad April 22, 2014
Hi, I've made similar pickled veggies with regular white vinegar, so I imagine it would work well here, too.
Scott January 24, 2014
I served these with a frittata and fried eggs for a brunch, and my guests were impressed! I could eat a whole jar in one sitting.
BlueKaleRoad January 28, 2014
Hi Scott, I'm delighted you made the asparagus and enjoyed it! Serving it with eggs for brunch sounds lovely. Thanks for letting me know! :)
Dartan August 11, 2013
after you are done pickling asparagus,how long should you wait before eating them?
BlueKaleRoad August 11, 2013
Hi Dartan, the asparagus needs 24 hours to pickle in the fridge and then you can start eating. I hope you enjoy it!
cini63 May 24, 2013
Made three jars and are delicious! Should I be concerned that garlic cloves have turned light blue in one of jars?
BlueKaleRoad May 24, 2013
Hi, I'm delighted you made the asparagus! I've read that garlic can sometimes have a chemical reaction and turn blue when cooking or pickling with it. There seems to be a number of reasons why this could happen (young garlic, presence of acid, sulfur compounds in the garlic) but all sources say the garlic is safe to eat and there is no need for concern. I'm happy you're enjoying the asparagus! I need to make another batch while it's still in season.
JustOneBite May 21, 2013
Do you think this would work with Rice Vinegar? It looks delicious!!
BlueKaleRoad May 23, 2013
Hi, I think rice vinegar would be a terrific option! Please let me know how it turns out. Great idea - I may try the same next time.
JustOneBite May 24, 2013
I'll have to try it next time! I went out and got white pickling vinegar. Not sure how that will work either, but I'll let you know! Thanks for the response.
BlueKaleRoad May 28, 2013
Keep me posted - I like learning about the different vinegar options. Happy pickling! :)
eefriedman May 13, 2013
Here in Buffalo, NY we had two weeks of upper 70's and today its snowing !!?? I have an asparagus addiction apparently, and I can't wait to try this recipe, as i am a pickleaholic Happy Mom's Day everybody.
BlueKaleRoad May 15, 2013
I can relate to your asparagus addiction, eefriedman! I hope your warm weather returns and you can enjoy some more before the season ends. Happy pickling!
jwlucas May 12, 2013
That looks delicious! Will definitely add it to my list. Congrats on being spotlighted!
BlueKaleRoad May 15, 2013
Thank you, jwlucas - the feature is definitely a happy surprise! I hope you enjoy the asparagus.
Awonderer May 12, 2013
Sounds good. If I process in a canner, will it keep longer than a month? Maybe use cool brine to keep the crunch in the stalks...
BlueKaleRoad May 12, 2013
Hi, I haven't tried processing in a canner so I can't say for sure. If you do try, please let me know as I'd love to know your experience. I'm going to start canning this summer (it's been on my list way too long!) and I'm excited!
Rivka May 9, 2013
Lovely recipe, Hannah! Pickled asparagus are one of my faves.
BlueKaleRoad May 10, 2013
Thank you, Rivka! Asparagus does take well to pickling. I have to make another batch while we still have it at the market as we need some more for Bloody Marys! Have a wonderful weekend!
Many congrats Hannah on the CP!!!
BlueKaleRoad May 10, 2013
Thank you, Susan! I'm thrilled. Love all the vinegar recipes and I can't wait to try some new ones this weekend!
Congrats, Hannah!! So glad to see that your pickled asparagus were selected as a CP. Love the James Ransom photo too. These asaparagus look delicious. Now that we are finally getting local asparagus in Victoria, I look forward to trying your recipe. Hope that you and your family are having a wonderful spring!
BlueKaleRoad May 10, 2013
Thank you, Paula! I love the photo, too - great colors. I hope you enjoy the asparagus! I have to make more before the season slips away. We are all doing great and loving the sunshine. I hope life in Victoria is going well! Happy Mother's Day to you!
Kukla May 9, 2013
Congratulations BKR on the CP!I love almost any pikled vegetables.
BlueKaleRoad May 9, 2013
Thank you, Kukla! I'm a big fan of pickled veggies, too, and can't wait to make your Shalotta.
EmilyC April 26, 2013
I'm saving this to make when visiting my parents in a few weeks. My mom grows asparagus and it should be at its peak while we're there!
BlueKaleRoad April 26, 2013
Oh, I'm envious of homegrown asparagus! Every spring I wish I'd planted some (especially since I know it takes a couple of seasons before you can start picking it). I need to get on this! I hope you enjoy your visit and the asparagus.
foxeslovelemons April 26, 2013
Do you think this would be OK to make with dried dill? If so, how much do you think I would use? It just seems like whenever I buy fresh dill, I use it for one thing, then put it in the fridge and forget about it :(
BlueKaleRoad April 26, 2013
Hi! I haven't tried dried dill but I do think it would work well. Since it's more concentrated in flavor, I would start with 1/2 teaspoon in each jar. If you really love dill, then perhaps 1 teaspoon. I hope you enjoy the asparagus - please let me know how it turns out! :)
TheWimpyVegetarian April 22, 2013
What a wonderful idea, Hannah! I love this. I think I'll make these this week. They would make such a nice hostess gift too!
BlueKaleRoad April 23, 2013
Thank you, Susan! I hope you enjoy the asparagus - such a good treat to keep on hand. And you're right, it would make a terrific hostess gift!