This is the best crisp pickled asparagus recipe out there and the first thing to meet my canning jars come springtime. Garlic and dill are paired with a salty brine and flavor-packed seasonings that create perfectly crisp asparagus spears every time! There's good reason this is one of my most requested recipes.
Asparagus might be my favorite pickling vegetable… except for the beans that get turned into dilly beans and the beets for pickled beets, oh, and the cucumbers for fermented garlic dill pickles. Okay, I can't pick a favorite, because really, they should all have their place inside a Mason jar and lining my cupboard shelves.
Oh wait! I almost forgot Great Grandma's mustard pickles! Whew, that was close!
As you can see, I'm a lover of all things pickled!
My favorite way to eat pickled asparagus is as an appetizer. It's the way to go. Served all by itself, rolled up in ham with a smear of cream cheese, or served side by side on a cheese platter or charcuterie board… you, crispy pickled asparagus, are amazing. (And no, it's not weird a bit I'm talking to a pickle, just wait till you try it.)
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If you're brand new to canning, you may want to check out a few of my resources before getting started. Canning 101 is great for those just getting started, as is this article about whether canning food at home is really worth it. And once you're done canning your pickled asparagus, be sure to check out my food preservation category for your next project.
Wondering What Pickled Asparagus Tastes Like?
Well, it's a bit like a pickle but with the subtle undertones of the asparagus flavor shining through like a champ. If you follow my recipe, they'll be crispy and briny. During canning, the asparagus soaks up all the amazing flavors of the vinegar, salt, garlic, and dill, leaving you with a tart, slightly sour, slightly sweet taste.
Feel free to toss some chili flakes in each jar for a little heat (if that's your thing!). As long as you have the proper vinegar to salt ratio, you can't really mess up the rest of the spices, so experiment to find your perfect combination.
Can You Make Pickled Asparagus In the Refrigerator?
Yes! Even though the recipe below is meant for canning, you can make these in the refrigerator. The only difference is they won't be shelf-stable and they'll take a little longer until you get that really great pickle flavor.
If you just want to make a small batch (and have a bit of patience), then the refrigerator method is just fine. And if you love refrigerator methods of pickling, you might also love these bread and butter refrigerator pickles!
To make refrigerator pickled asparagus:
- Mix together the vinegar, salt, and spices.
- Wash the asparagus and trim the bottoms to fit the size of your jar (I like pint-size jars, but quart jars work well for larger stalks).
- Add garlic cloves and dill to the bottom of your jar and fill with asparagus. Try to line the stalks up nice and tall, like little soldiers, and really pack them in tight!
- Pour the room temperature pickling liquid over the top to fill the jar.
- Place in the refrigerator for 3-7 days. Technically, after 24 hours you now have asparagus pickles, but the longer you let them “pickle” the stronger their flavor.
What's the Difference Between a Refrigerator Pickle and a “Quick Pickle”?
There's not too much of a difference between the two, however, a quick pickle is made by first boiling your brine, then pouring the hot brine over your asparagus. This “cooks” the asparagus just a bit, making them softer and quicker to absorb the brine.
Quick Pickled Asparagus
To make quick-pickled asparagus:
- Mix together the vinegar, salt, and spices in a pot to create your brine.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Prepare your asparagus by washing and trimming the bottoms to fit the size of your jar.
- Add garlic cloves and dill to the bottom of your jar and fill with asparagus. Try to line the trimmed asparagus up nice and tall, like little soldiers, and really pack them in tight!
- Pour the hot brine over the top to fill the jar.
- Seal with a lid and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours. The asparagus will continue to get more “pickle-y” after 3-5 days.
Pickled Asparagus – Healthy or Not?
If you're asking yourself whether pickled asparagus is healthy or not the answer is, kind of!
Really helpful, right?
Asparagus itself is very healthy. It's full of fiber and a great source of Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc. Did you know asparagus also has probiotics? This makes it a great addition to meals for aiding digestion.
When you pickle the asparagus you have to consider that you're adding quite a bit of salt and some sugar into the picture. And if you're canning it, the asparagus will lose some of its nutrients and probiotics because it's heated.
But if you're comparing the health of pickled asparagus to say a cookie, then it's a much healthier option.
How to Get Crispy Pickled Asparagus Every Time
For crispy pickled asparagus, you need to start with fresh asparagus. To make sure asparagus is fresh, try to snap it in half. It should break clean without any strings. Stringy or limp asparagus is a sign that it's not fresh.
I prefer medium or larger stalks of asparagus, this also lends itself to a crispy finish. Just be sure your jars are large enough to hold the size you want.
There is no need to sterilize your jars when canning this recipe. Updated canning testing states if you're processing your recipe for 10 minutes or more, there's no need to sterilize your jars. Simply wash them in hot soapy water.
See, told you this pickled asparagus recipe was easy peasy. Click here for more tips on how to tell if a canning recipe is safe.
Pickled Asparagus Recipe
You'll want to start with approximately 180 spears of asparagus (depending on size) which equals about 30 spears per quart for a total of 6 quarts.
You'll need good, clean water and vinegar of choice. I prefer to choose an organic vinegar, and always one that's 5% acidity when canning and/or pickling.
You can use white or apple cider vinegar (click here for a homemade apple cider vinegar recipe) but homemade vinegar is not safe for canning. Using white vinegar will yield nice bright green pickles asparagus while apple cider vinegar will make the asparagus appear duller in color.
Be sure to use pickling salt, regular salt will make your brine cloudy. And don't skip the sugar, it really helps balance out the flavors for this recipe. I use raw organic cane sugar.
The seasonings are really preferential here and can be adapted to suit your liking. I've found that the combination of celery seed, some mustard seed, dill, and garlic make a delicious end product.
If you like your pickled asparagus with a little kick, add some red pepper flakes to each jar. Use approximately 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per quart.
Grab your water bath canner and follow the instructions below for proper canning!
How to Store Pickled Asparagus
Once you've canned your pickled asparagus, and the jars are sealed properly, you'll want to make sure to allow your jars to cool overnight. Then, follow these methods for properly storing your canned goods to ensure you're safely storing your food for the best long-term storage.
If a jar doesn't seal correctly, don't panic! Just seal the jar with the lid and place it in the refrigerator.
Best Pickled Asparagus- Easy Canning Recipe
- 180 spears of asparagus depending on size, about 30 per quart
- 6 1/2 cups water
- 8 1/2 cups vinegar preferably organic and always use 5% acidity when canning/pickling. You can use white or apple cider vinegar. White just helps keep the green color of the asparagus
- 6 Tablespoons pickling salt regular makes your brine cloudy
- 1 to 2 cups sugar I use raw organic cane sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
- 12 Teaspoons mustard seed
- 12 teaspoons Dill weed or 2 heads fresh dill tucked in with asparagus
- 18 cloves garlic
- Wash jars in hot water soapy water. Wide mouth jars work best.
- Put 3 cloves of garlic, and 2 teaspoons mustard seed and dill in the bottom of each jar.
- Rinse asparagus in cold water. Measure and chop off ends so that heads fill jars with 1/2 inch head space. Pack tightly.
- Set lids in a pan of water on medium low heat until ready to seal jars.
- Put water, vinegar, sugar, salt and celery seed in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once liquid has boiled, fill each jar to the top of the spears, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
- Wipe rims, put on lids, and screw on bands. Place jars in canning rack or basket in a hot water bath of boiling water and process for 10 minutes.
- Carefully pull out hot jars and place on a folded kitchen towel in a draft free area. Let sit for at least 12 hours. Check to make sure the jars of pickled asparagus have sealed by pressing down on the center of the lid. If it pops or gives, your seal is bad. Put in fridge and eat.
- Store jars in a dark cool place.
- For spicy pickled asparagus: Add red pepper flakes to each jar with garlic. You can add approximately 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per quart.
- This makes approximately 6 quarts of pickled asparagus and the nutritional information is based on 4 servings per jar… provided you don't eat the whole jar all by yourself in one sitting- because it's that good!
In my opinion, this is the best pickled asparagus recipe and not just my opinion, I have people who try this and immediately ask for the recipe to replace their old one. The only proper thing to do is share this of course!
For more great resources, check out a few of my other canning favorites: