Recipe: Asparagus Tips in a Pickle{19}

Consider the Asparagus pickle…asparagus pickle recipe

As a child, the only asparagus, available at the local A&P resided in a tin can of questionable intent. They called it a food item, a vegetable, but any man, woman or child brave enough to open the lid to that tin sarcophagus would find something else: mummified spears of slimy white sadness. Buried under mounds of soil, the naturally delectable tips were denied sun and fresh air, intentionally shielded from light and the prospect of a crisp green future. The result, a pallid substitute with anemic texture and flavor. I always felt canned “white” asparagus was the ultimate dinner time punishment.

Fast forward to our current food revolution, and asparagus has been resurrected and revamped as a readily available and seasonal fresh vegetable treat harvested after a week of sunlight under its spear.  In Washington, asparagus grows like a weed east of the Cascades, and those of us west of the Cascades are most grateful and eager to partake in that bounty.

I had an asparagus patch, but blinked and the weeds took over and choked out the bed. I will try again, this time with a raised bed and diligence included in the plan. While fresh asparagus can’t be beat, I like to pickle asparagus, so I’ll have a tender tip or two in the winter months. Here’s my recipe, a sweet sour mix of vinegar and spice.

asparagus pickle recipe

Sweet Sour Asparagus Spear Pickles

Makes about 4 – 5 pint jars


  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus (small or large spears)
  • Pickling Solution
    • 4 Cups of white vinegar (5% acidity)
    • 2 Cups of sugar
    • peppercorns
    • bay leaves
    • allspice berries
    • cinnamon stick
    • garlic cloves
    • cloves
    • kosher salt

Preparation Solution

  1. Rinse and dry asparagus
  2. In a nonreactive (stainless) pan, add vinegar and sugar
  3. Heat until dissolved
  4. Reduce heat, keep warm

asparagus pickles in the making

Preparation Spears

  1. Fill clean, sterilized jars with spears pointing down
  2. Crowd them in the jar without crushing tips
  3. When you can’t wedge another one in the jar, hold spears and pull out of jar one inch from the bottom of the jar
  4. Cut off stalks at jar opening
  5. Push spears back down to bottom of jar
  6. Stalks will sit one inch below the top of the jar

asparagus spearsPreparation Solution and Spears

  1. Fill asparagus jars with warm vinegar-sugar solution
  2. Leave 1/2 inch head space, that is air between solution and top of jar when sealed.

yum asparagus pickles

  1. To each jar add spices of your liking. For me these include the following:
      • 2-3 peppercorns
      • 1 clove
      • pepper flake or two
      • half of one bay leaf
      • 2-3 allspice berries
      • half of one cinnamon stick
      • 1 clove of garlic
      • half teaspoon of salt
  2. Seal jar with lid, and place in simmering hot water bath for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove, cool, store and eat a couple weeks later on and on…

asparagus pickle in a jarThis asparagus pickle recipe works great for cucumbers as well.