I started my day yesterday at 5am so that I could head down to the Ontario Food Terminal and pick up some Ontario Asparagus for my preserving class at The Depanneur. If you have never been to the Food Terminal it is one of my favourite places in the city. In the early hours before the sun comes up when the streets and highways of the city are quiet, the Terminal is a hive of activity. With trucks coming in and out filled with flowers, plants and produce, with buyers walking from supplier to supplier filling their carts and rolling racks full of the items they need and with mini forklifts being driven around coming at you from all directions. It makes procuring local produce and adventure.
Asparagus is generally in season in Ontario in May and June, so now is the perfect time for you to get your hands on some and for you to make Pickled Asparagus.
I have a few favourite Pickled Asparagus recipes. Some are great cut up in salads (potato salad being my favourite) or put out with an assortment of cheeses and meats on a charcuterie plate. And while the recipe that I share below is wonderful in all of those locations, my favourite place for this Pickled Asparagus is in a tall glass filled with a Caesar. And with tomorrow being National Caesar Day here in Canada, it seemed like the perfect day to share it with you.
Spicy Pickled Asparagus
5 cups vinegar
5 cups water (distilled is perfect if you want a nice crunchy pickle)
1/2 cup pickling salt
Ingredients per jar
1/2 - 1 pound of Asparagus
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp dill seed
1 garlic clove
Yields approximately 8 - 500ml jars
Rinse and dry asparagus. Prepare according to your jar size*. Drop 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp mustard seed, 1/2 tsp dill seed and 1 garlic clove into each of your jars. snugly pack the asparagus spears into jars.
Prepare the brine by combining the vinegar, water and salt in a medium non reactive sauce pan. Stir over high heat until the salt dissolves and you reach a boil or high simmer.
Ladle the brine into the jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Ensure all of your asparagus is completely covered by the brine. Be sure to burp your jars and then re-measure your headspace and top up with brine to the 1/2" mark.
Wipe the rims of the jars and apply lid and thread. Remember to just hand tighten the thread.
Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
*TIP - As a lot of canning jars out there are not tall enough for some of the longer asparagus to ensure you don't have to spend a lot of time measuring and cutting your asparagus, place them tips down in your jar. This way you can simply trim any tall asparagus with your scissors before pouring in the brine
These pickles will come to full flavour within 2-3 weeks. Plenty of time for you to make them and still enjoy them in that Caesar I mentioned earlier before the end of the summer.