How to Make Pickled Asparagus

You're steps away from having tangy, delicious pickled asparagus at home.

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This is an unexpected way to prepare asparagus! It preserves a spring or summer harvest for a relish tray, cheese board or cocktail garnish during the cold weather months. Like pickled onions, pickled asparagus is an acquired taste, but it’s a retro recipe that deserves a comeback—particularly if served up in a Bloody Mary.

If you’re new to pickling and preserving, start with our guide to canning.

How to Make Pickled Asparagus

This recipe for pickled asparagus is from Taste of Home Community Cook Marie Hattrup. It makes eight quarts—plenty for sharing! Here’s what you need:

  • 9 quarts water, divided
  • 16 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 quarts white vinegar
  • 1 cup canning salt
  • 1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Editor’s tip: You can purchase pickling spices (a mix of ingredients such as clove, allspice, pepper, dill seeds and more) or flex your DIY muscle with this easy recipe.

Tools You’ll Need

Step 1: Blanch the Asparagus

In a stockpot, bring six quarts of water to a boil. Then, cook asparagus in batches, uncovered, for two and a half minutes. The spears should be bright green, with plenty of snap. Remove and rinse in ice cold water.

Step 2: Make the Brine

In a Dutch oven, combine the vinegar, salt, pickling spices, garlic and remaining water; bring to a boil. Pack asparagus in quart jars to within a half-inch inch of the top.

Editor’s tip: You can play with the flavors in this recipe. Add more garlic or additional spices. A few spicy peppers will give the asparagus a kick!

Step 3: Ladle and Process

Carefully, ladle the pickling mixture into hot quart jars, leaving a half-inch of headspace. Use a knife or bubble remover to remove air bubbles, then wipe rims and adjust lids. (If your can doesn’t have a tight, secure fit, the lid will start to lift off the jar, make a mess and wreak havoc on your recipe.) Process for 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Editor’s tip: For processing times at altitude, consult this recipe.

To remove the quart jars from hot water, use a jar lifter. This industrial set of tongs is designed to grip your jars and safely lift them up. (It’s one of our essential tools for canning for good reason.)

Store the jars in the pantry and wait a week until cracking one open.

Questions About Pickled Asparagus Answered

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Pickled asparagus isn’t the most common pickle, so we understand if you’ve got a few questions. We’ve got the answers!

Is Pickled Asparagus Good for You?

Yes—in moderation. The pickling process will destroy all of the vitamin B6 in asparagus, but this vegetable does retain some of its nutritional value.

How Long Do You Have to Wait Before Eating Pickled Asparagus?

For pickled foods, patience is a virtue. You should wait three days before cracking open a can. In fact, some home chefs think you should wait a full week before sampling. (But we’ll be the first ones to admit that requires a lot of willpower.)

Why Did My Pickled Asparagus Wrinkle?

You may pull out a jar of pickled asparagus only to see that the pieces have shriveled up. What gives? Is your asparagus OK? Don’t worry—it’s not as bad as it looks. The acidic brine can pull out the liquid inside your asparagus, making it appear shriveled. Fortunately, many experts believe your asparagus will go back to its plump state in time.

If you want to keep shriveled appearances to a minimum, we recommend blanching your asparagus (like we do in this recipe), which will help preserve its color, texture and flavor.

Is wrinkled asparagus safe to eat? Yes. As long as they were prepared and processed correctly, home chefs will give you the green light.

How Do You Eat Pickled Asparagus?

The beauty of pickled asparagus is that it pairs well with anything—and we mean anything. Whether you eat them on their own, along with a sandwich or as part of an appetizer spread, pickled asparagus are the perfect supper club snack.

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Kelsey Mulvey
Kelsey Mulvey is a freelance writer and editor based in New York. Her hobbies include wine, nachos and the occasional hibachi dinner.