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Small-Batch Pickled Asparagus

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Prepare the asparagus: Wash the asparagus. Trim away the bottom of the asparagus leaving an 8-inch spear. Reserve cutaways to use in a vegetable broth recipe. Cut the spears in half, 4-inches in length, and place to the side.
  2. Sterilize jars and equipment: Place six canning jar lids and rings into separate medium-sized bowls and cover with boiling water. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. Sterilize six 500ml canning jars either in a dishwasher run full cycle without soap or by washing them and letting them simmer in boiling water for 10 minutes. Sterilize canning funnel, ladle and tongs in the same manner.
  3. Make the brine: Place all of the ingredients for the brine into a medium-sized stainless steel pot and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Bring the brine to a boil then reduce to simmer.
  4. Fill the jars: Place sterilized jars on work surface. With the jar tilted, place a few of the asparagus spears into the jar, standing upright, pointed tips upward. Add one of the halved lemon slices laying it agains the inside of the jar. Add the tarragon then a sprinkle of shallots. Continue adding the asparagus in this way, followed by a bit more shallots. Just before the jar is fully packed, slide in the second piece of lemon. Move the asparagus about to pack tightly, adding any of the cutaway asparagus pieces to fill in gaps. Stuff the jars to ½-inch from the top. Sprinkle the top with ¼ teaspoon each of mustard seeds, peppercorns and chili flakes.
  5. Home canning - here are my guidelines to seal properly: Place sterilized funnel on top of the first jar. Carefully ladle the hot brine into the jar, leaving ¼-inch of headroom at the top. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the rim of the jar.
  6. Place sterilized lid on jars using magnet wand or tongs. Place ring on top and turn just until finger tight. Repeat process until all jars are filled.
  7. Transfer filled jars to boiling water and process for 10 minutes. Carefully remove jars from pot while the colour of the asparagus is still slightly mottled. Place onto work surface and leave undisturbed for 24 hours. Check that the centre area of each lid has depressed. Wipe jars clean and store in a cool, dark and dry place, or gift to someone special.
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Small-Batch Pickled Asparagus

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Asparagus spears packed with shallots, lemon and fresh tarragon then seasoned with mustard seeds, peppercorns and a sweet and sour brine…

  • clock icon
    40 MIN
  • 6 SERVINGS
Small-batch Pickled Asparagus

Expect big flavours from our SMALL-BATCH PICKLED ASPARAGUS!

We know both experienced home canning enthusiasts and first time canners out there are going to love this! What’s not to love about rolling up your sleeves, doing a few important tasks, and having something visually appealing, useful and delicious to show for your efforts? No, seriously, making our SMALL-BATCH PICKLED ASPARAGUS is going to bring you great joy on so many levels.

This recipe is a small-batch home canning endeavour that yields six pints. Unlike big batch recipes like our BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES, or our ANTIPASTO SAUCE, where you come away with a dozen jars or more, this recipe is smaller but mighty. Each jar is jammed with serious flavour.

This home canning recipe gets an extra vote of confidence because of the way it captures the freshness of the asparagus. Of course there are lots of ways of enjoying asparagus, whether we’re ROASTING IT, using it in a SALAD or turning it into a CREAMY SOUP, but this treatment is different. Just one bite into these pickled spears and you’ll see. Asparagus partnered with just a few other ingredients before getting seasoned and pickled in a tangy sweet and sour brine is sublime.

Let’s go through the steps so you can get going and make your own SMALL-BATCH PICKLED ASPARAGUS!

Ingredients for Small-batch Pickled Asparagus

IN THE JAR

You might look at the photo of the ingredients and think, “There’s no way all that ends up in this recipe”, yet it does. All of these ingredients should be available at your local grocery store. That said, you still might want to call ahead to make sure they have the white wine vinegar, kosher salt and fresh tarragon on hand. If not, I bet they’ll be happy to order it in. 

Fresh asparagus divided in half

ASPARAGUS

We do think this recipe tastes vastly different when made with fresh organically grown local asparagus. This is always a good go-to concept; buying local is a way of supporting your hometown or district farm communities. We also think canning asparagus is an excellent way of capturing the flavour of this favourite vegetable. That said, the jars aren’t meant to be stored for months and months. We found giving a few away to close friends and family was a kind gesture, and the remaining jars disappeared in no time. I’ve listed some ways to enjoy pickled asparagus further down in this post.

Fresh tarragon

TARRAGON, SHALLOTS & LEMON

Piggybacking off of the winning dill-garlic combination used in many pickle recipes, we decided to gather three different and somewhat unusual ingredients for this adventure in home canning. The first is tarragon, sometimes labelled as estragon. This aromatic perennial herb has a subtle liquorice flavour and is considered an essential herb in French cuisine – head HERE to learn more. We used in when we made this SAUCE BÉARNAISE and now can’t decide which recipe puts it to best use. We think it’s awesome in both.

Sliced shallots and lemon

The use of shallots and lemon in the recipe do wonders to balance the acidity in the brine while also adding fresh citrus notes and a soft onion taste too. Be prepared for an additional surprise when you carefully pull the finished jars from their hot water processing bath. The shallots also colour the brining liquid a light blush colour. Nice finish to the look for sure.

Mustard seeds, black peppercorns, chili flakes, shallots and lemon

SEASONING

Although we often see pre-packaged pickling spices available in grocery stores, we decided to keep our seasoning mix extra simple so as not to muddle the flavouring. Both mustard seeds and black peppercorns plump up as they cure in the brine, imparting both heat and sweet to this pickling recipe. 

Ingredients for the sweet and sour brine

BRINE

The brining liquid for this recipe checks off all the boxes. It’s both sweet and salty thanks to the use of granulated sugar and kosher salt. It’s also extra tangy thanks to our use of two vinegars with acetic acid levels greater than 5%: white wine vinegar is 6% while the pickling vinegar is 7%. Along with the salt, acetic acid helps preserve food. The white wine vinegar also gives the brine a delicate flavouring.

Home canning tools

TOOLS

If this is your first attempt at home canning, we suggest you read THIS ARTICLE on the process. It’ll give you a solid overview on where you’ll be heading. Just remember to go slowly and carefully for best results. We’ve also included some of the tools frequently used for canning recipes. Just click the links below to purchase.

Six 500 ml pint jars

JARRING

Preparing the jars of asparagus is not difficult but watch the VIDEO attached to this story before making the recipe. We discovered a few tips during testing that can help. One thing to remember is that the small details like the placement of the lemon slices, sprig of tarragon, shallots and seasoning can make a world of different to the look of the finished jars.

Jars stuffed with asparagus, shallots, lemon, tarragon and spices

Again, just go slow and take your time. You’ll have gorgeous jars of SMALL-BATCH PICKLED ASPARAGUS in no time!

Small-batch Pickled Asparagus ready to be enjoyed

ENJOY

We’ve discovered lots of ways to enjoy pickled asparagus. There is something quite captivating about the flavour that comes out of these jars. To begin, be prepared for your first taste, where you just stand there like a song on repeat, going back for more again and again. 

Pickled asparagus served with a grilled piece of fish

Another way to enjoy is to add a few pieces of asparagus alongside a favourite piece of fish or poultry. The tangy flavouring goes so well with both. 

Quick batches of the asparagus cut into smaller nibs

Finally, we did a second round of small batch after shooting the story where we chopped the asparagus into 1-inch pieces, tossed it with the shallots and then added the chopped mix into jars. We added the lemon slices and sprig of tarragon too to complete this process before adding the brine and processing the jars for 10 minutes. Easy!

Pickled asparagus served as a pickled condiment

Certainly a more casual look but sheesh, does it ever work perfectly as a topper on sandwiches. Add that to a burger next time instead of a slice of pickle – absolutely swoon-worthy!

Small-batch Pickled Asparagus served in a relish tray

Let’s hear it for little jars with big flavours! SMALL-BATCH PICKLED ASPARAGUS, we LOVE you!

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Small-Batch Pickled Asparagus

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Products used in this recipe

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Small-Batch Pickled Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds of asparagus (about 4 bunches)
  • 6 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh tarragon, rinsed
  • 6 thin lemon slices, halved, seeds removed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili flakes
  • For the brine:
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup pickling vinegar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

Directions

  1. Prepare the asparagus: Wash the asparagus. Trim away the bottom of the asparagus leaving an 8-inch spear. Reserve cutaways to use in a vegetable broth recipe. Cut the spears in half, 4-inches in length, and place to the side.
  2. Sterilize jars and equipment: Place six canning jar lids and rings into separate medium-sized bowls and cover with boiling water. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. Sterilize six 500ml canning jars either in a dishwasher run full cycle without soap or by washing them and letting them simmer in boiling water for 10 minutes. Sterilize canning funnel, ladle and tongs in the same manner.
  3. Make the brine: Place all of the ingredients for the brine into a medium-sized stainless steel pot and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Bring the brine to a boil then reduce to simmer.
  4. Fill the jars: Place sterilized jars on work surface. With the jar tilted, place a few of the asparagus spears into the jar, standing upright, pointed tips upward. Add one of the halved lemon slices laying it agains the inside of the jar. Add the tarragon then a sprinkle of shallots. Continue adding the asparagus in this way, followed by a bit more shallots. Just before the jar is fully packed, slide in the second piece of lemon. Move the asparagus about to pack tightly, adding any of the cutaway asparagus pieces to fill in gaps. Stuff the jars to ½-inch from the top. Sprinkle the top with ¼ teaspoon each of mustard seeds, peppercorns and chili flakes.
  5. Home canning - here are my guidelines to seal properly: Place sterilized funnel on top of the first jar. Carefully ladle the hot brine into the jar, leaving ¼-inch of headroom at the top. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the rim of the jar.
  6. Place sterilized lid on jars using magnet wand or tongs. Place ring on top and turn just until finger tight. Repeat process until all jars are filled.
  7. Transfer filled jars to boiling water and process for 10 minutes. Carefully remove jars from pot while the colour of the asparagus is still slightly mottled. Place onto work surface and leave undisturbed for 24 hours. Check that the centre area of each lid has depressed. Wipe jars clean and store in a cool, dark and dry place, or gift to someone special.

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