Simple Home Pickled Asparagus

Fresh asparagus, garlic bulb, hot red peppers, salt and vinegar.

Wondering how to make the best Pickled Asparagus for your cocktails and charcuterie boards? This small batch recipe shows how easy it is to preserve Asparagus at it’s prime.

Pickled asparagus is delicious right out of the jar as a snack, but even more delicious as a Caesar or Bloody Mary garnish. This salty and sour treat is great on charcuterie boards, in a sandwich or burger, or alongside roasted meats. Asparagus readily soaks up all the vinegar and salt brine while still retaining that crispy bite everyone loves in a pickle. 

Simple Home Pickled Asparagus

Small batch pickling is easier than you think. Once you have the method mastered, there’s a whole world of produce out there just waiting to be pickled. In our family, Picked Carrots and Pickled Eggs are at the top of the list for pickled goodies.

Asparagus season is short and sweet, so we make the most of it by eating as much as we can. We love it roasted, in salads, soups and pasta dishes. At least once in the season I end up buying a few more bunches than we can eat. When that happens, it’s pickling time! 

A clear glass jar filled with green asparagus, a garlic clove, and a red hot pepper.

What is Asparagus?

Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant which can grow up to 100–150 cm (39–59 in) tall. Fully mature asparagus has stout stems with much-branched, feathery foliage but it’s the younger, more tender stalks that are eaten.

Asparagus is native to Europe and Western Asia but is now widely cultivated around the world.  After planting, it takes 3 full seasons before the underground root system has fully developed and first harvest takes place during the fourth season. 

Two clear glass jars filled with green asparagus, a garlic clove, and a red hot pepper.

Why Should I Pickle Asparagus?

Fresh, seasonal asparagus is so sweet and delicious on it’s own. However, it’s only available for a short time in the Spring. If you love asparagus as much as I do, you’ll want to eat it year round. The only way to preserve it year round is by pickling it. 

Two clear glass jars filled with green asparagus, a garlic clove, and a red hot pepper.

Is Pickled Asparagus Good For Me?

Yes…well mostly. One quick look at the nutritional information below shows that it is low in all the fats, cholesterol, and sugar. However, if you are on a low sodium diet, be sure to eat any type of pickle in moderation. Salt is an important part of how this sweet vegetable is preserved.

A clear glass jar filled with green asparagus, a garlic clove, and a red hot pepper.

The good news? Pickled asparagus still contains fibre and good things like the Vitamins K, A, C, and E as well as a good amount of folate and minerals such as Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, and Zinc. 

A clear glass jar filled with green asparagus, a garlic clove, and a red hot pepper being lowered into a hot water canner.

Equipment You Will Need 

There are a few key pieces of equipment you will need for any hot water bath canning or pickling project. The good news is that most are re usable, making home preserving a very economical process.

  • large canner or stock pot – These are available at home or hardware stores and I’ve also seen them in our grocery store around canning season. It should be wide enough to hold several jars with space in between and tall enough so that the jars remain covered with water throughout the process.
  • canning rack – This rack goes in the bottom of the canner. It separates the jars from the base of the canner and prevents movement as well as cracked jars. Recently I’ve switched from a solid metal rack to a silicone mesh mat and I love it! 
Jars of asparagus pickles being processed in a canner filled with boiling water.
  • jar grabber – Unless you have tough hands and don’t need your fingerprints, use the jar grabber to add and remove hot jars from the canner.
  • magnetic wand – Not essential but damn, it’s handy for grabbing hot jar rings and lids out of hot water.
  • jars – Mostly self explanatory but it’s worth noting that I love the wide mouth (straight side) style for making pickles. It’s much easier to pack the produce into the jar with this style. Always inspect the jars for cracks and chips before re-use.
  • lids and rings – Jar rings are reusable, unless they have become rusty, dented, or misshapen. Some say the lids aren’t reusable but I carefully inspect mine for any sign of warping or rust. If the rubber ring is disturbed in any way, bin it. 
Two clear glass jars filled with green asparagus, a garlic clove, and a red hot pepper after processing in a hot water bath.

Pickle Preparation

Pickling is a process that requires technique. After a few batches, you will get the hang of it and want to pickle anything in sight! In pickling, timing is everything. Usually the first thing I do is fill the hot water canner and set it to boil. 

Next, prep the jars and lids. They should be inspected and washed. The lids and rings go into a saucepan filled with water, the jars are placed upside down in a 9 x 13 cake pan filled with 2 inches of water. Set them in a 250 F oven for 10 minutes.

Take care to prepare the asparagus, peppers, and garlic. They need to be trimmed and peeled. Measure the asparagus against the jar so that it fits in easily while you are hot packing the jar. It should reach just below where the ring sits (on the jar). 

Mix up the brine in a large pot and set it to boil so that the salt is fully dissolved. Once it reaches a boil, turn it down but keep it hot and ready.

Two clear glass jars filled with green asparagus, a garlic clove, and a red hot pepper after processing in a hot water bath.

How to Pickle Asparagus

Once everything is boiling and the produce is prepped, it’s time to stuff the jars. Use the jar grabber to remove a jar from the oven. Add half of the asparagus, then add the pepper and garlic clove (and dill if using). Stuff as much asparagus as you can and ensure it is packed tightly. 

Now is the time to add pickling spices and any other seasoning you’d like to use. Fill the jar with hot brine leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the jar rim with a clean cloth.

Use the magnetic want to grab a lid from the hot water, place it on the jar and repeat with the ring. Tighten the ring slightly, but not too tight.

Fill the other jars, then lower them in to the canner. 

Processing time in the hot water bath is related to altitude. Use this chart to determine how long to process your asparagus. 

Fresh asparagus, garlic bulb, hot red peppers, salt and vinegar.

How Long Can I Keep Pickled Asparagus?

Once you have processed the asparagus for the requisite time, allow the asparagus to cool without disturbing the jars. The lids should seal as the jars cool. Be sure to listen for the familiar ‘pop’ sound. If a jar hasn’t sealed (the lid hasn’t depressed) refrigerate immediately. 

Store the sealed jars in a dark and cool spot such as a basement. Let them sit in the brine for a few weeks before eating. They are good stored in this way for a year and up to two years. 

Note that processed asparagus will change colour naturally (see after photos) and this does not affect safety. If they become cloudy, fizzy, or grow mold throw them out. As the saying goes; when it doubt, throw it out! 

Pinterest image of clear glass jars filled with green asparagus, a garlic clove, and a red hot pepper.
Yield: 5 pint jars

Simple Home Pickled Asparagus

A clear glass jar filled with green asparagus, a garlic clove, and a red hot pepper.

Wondering how to make the best Pickled Asparagus for your cocktails and charcuterie boards? This small batch recipe shows how easy it is to preserve Asparagus at it's prime.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs 1.5 kg (approx 3 bunches) fresh asparagus
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups white pickling vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pickling/kosher salt
  • 5 cloves garlic; peeled
  • 5 red Thai chilies (optional)
  • fresh dill (optional)
  • 5 tbsp pickling spice (optional)

Instructions

CANNING PREPARATION

    1. Fill a hot water bath canner (with a canning rack) with water and bring to a boil while you:
    2. Wash and trim asparagus to fit a pint jar. You'll want a mix of tops and bottoms in each jar.
    3. Wash and inspect 6 pint jars (I always do an extra jar just in case) and their lids. Be sure there are no chips on the jar rims and that there's no rust or dents on the lids.
    4. Set jars upside down in a large cake pan, add an inch or two of water. Place in a 250 F oven for ten minutes and keep warm until you are ready to fill them.
    5. Place lids and lid rings into a pot and fill with water. Set on stove and heat until they just begin to boil.
    6. Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil.
    7. Add water, vinegar, and salt to a medium pot. Bring to a boil so that the salt dissolves.
    8. Clean and prep garlic, peppers, and dill (if using).

    STUFF THE JARS

    1. Take jars out of the oven one at a time and add one half of garlic followed by the pepper and dill (if using).
    2. Quickly but purposefully arrange the asparagus in the pint jar until the are so tightly packed you can't add any more.
    3. Add the pickling spice (if using). Top with hot brine, leaving 1 cm head space.
    4. Quickly cover with hot lid and screw on the sealing ring until it's just tight, but not crazy tight.

    HOT WATER PROCESSING

      1. Place jar in canning rack and repeat until all your jars are finished. If your hot water canner looks too full of boiling water, remove some. If you need more, take it from the kettle.
      2. Lower the canning rack into the canner. Make sure there's an inch of water above the jars.
      3. Process at a rolling boil for 10 minutes at sea level or 20 minutes at over 3000 ft altitude (or see hot water processing chart HERE), adding boiling water as needed to make sure the jars are covered.
      4. Remove and let sit on counter overnight before moving. Check to make sure all jars have sealed (the lids should be depressed in their centres) and refrigerate any that have not sealed.
      5. Allow pickles to sit in the brine for a few weeks. Enjoy!


Nutrition Information:

Yield:

5

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 7Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 125mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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35 comments

  1. Andrea

    Eek! I used to eat pickled asparagus as a kid and haven’t had it forever. I need to make this. Thank you!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      You were an adventurous child! I hope you give my recipe a try and relive those childhood memories.

  2. Sean

    I love pickled veggies but I had never thought to do it with asparagus. This is wonderful!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It really takes the flavour nicely and it’s sooo good as a Caesar or bloody Mary garnish.

  3. Ann

    I love this idea of pickling asparagus! As I am planning my garden layout, I have been thinking of veggies to can and pickle. Asparagus never crossed my mind! I will have to try this!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      If you have the space, I highly recommend growing your own. It does take a few years to get going though.

  4. Kim Beaulieu

    I absolutely love that you added some heat to it! Looks delicious!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thanks Kim! We add the spicy ones to our caesars.

  5. Marieke

    Now that I am home more this summer, I have vowed to try my hand at pickling and I so appreciate this very detailed how-to!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Awesome! Enjoy the process and results..

  6. Isabelle @ Crumb

    Perfect timing! It’s peak asparagus season over here in Ontario right now, so I can usually find a great deal on bunches at the local market. I normally end up eating grilled asparagus for weeks on end, but maybe I’ll try to save a bunch or two to put away for the colder months when asparagus becomes hellishly expensive again. 🙂

    Reply

  7. LaKita

    I have never tried pickled asparagus before but I am certain that I would love it. They look so good and I love how easy your recipe is to follow.

    Reply

  8. Cynthia

    I have yet to try canning. I have only done refrigerated pickling. Thank you for such a well written guide!

    Reply

  9. Debbie

    I adore pickled asparagus but never thought about doing it myself. You make this look so easy, I can’t wait to make these. We love these in our Bloody Mary’s, I can’t wait.

    Reply

  10. Laura

    Such a good idea! I will definitely try soon as we pick asparagus where we live!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I hope you enjoy the process, Laura. Thanks for stopping by!

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