Spring is here! The growing season is off to a galloping
start, and from now until November it’s a rotating cast
of delicious fruits and vegetables to color the seasons.
Since I like to eat as much local produce
as I can, spring is also the beginning of
prime food preservation time. I want
to grow or buy as much from farmers
as I can and preserve the excess to eat
during those cold winter months, when
the local selection dwindles to apples
and root vegetables. There are so many
delicious things to preserve in the spring–
tangy rhubarb, pungent ramps, delicate
fiddlehead ferns, and tender asparagus.
You could slice these asparagus spears
into a salad or use them as part of a
crudité platter, but if you’re like me, you
might end up eating them all right out of
Makes about 3 pint-sized jars
2 lbs asparagus
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
2 cups white vinegar
4 cup water
4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pickling or canning salt
3 teaspoons dill seeds
3 teaspoons mustard seeds
1. Trim tough ends from asparagus and
cut spears into uniform length, a good
inch shorter than the jars you are using.
2. Cover with ice water and refrigerate
for an hour.
3. Drain well.
prepare water bath canner, jars, and lids.
5. In a small bowl, combine hot pepper
and garlic. Mix well and set aside.
a large saucepan, bring vinegar, water,
sugar, and salt to a boil.
7. Reduce heat
and boil gently for 5 minutes.
asparagus and boil for 2 minutes or until
9. Remove asparagus
but keep pickling liquid warm.
2 teaspoons of garlic/pepper mixture,
1 teaspoons dill seeds, and 1 teaspoons
mustard seeds into each hot jar.
asparagus, tips down, into hot jars leaving
a generous ½ inch of headspace at the
top of the jar.
12. Ladle pickling liquid into
jar to cover asparagus leaving
2 inch of
13. Remove air bubbles and
adjust headspace if necessary by adding
more hot pickling liquid.
14. Wipe rim of
jars and seal tight with lid.
jars in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
16. Remove jars and cool.
17. Check lids
for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not
flex up and down when center is pressed.
18. Clean and store jars.
19. For most
delicious results, wait 1 month before
eating and enjoy within 1 year!
“I want to grow
or buy as much
as I can and
excess to eat