Canning seems to be all in vogue these days, but canning involves rigor and special equipment and that ever-present threat of botulism. For some reason, that just seems to take the fun out of it for me. And also, my utter lack of cabinet space to squirrel away all of my canned products.
Enter the world of refrigerator pickles. This is more like a 2-3 day endeavor with no fear of death involved. Much more my speed. My first attempt was asparagus, based on the recipe I found on the great website Food in Jars. I then made a second batch, with the same recipe, just carrots instead of asparagus. I would rate them both as highly successful….
Snack on these as appetizers, stick them in your bloody mary, garnish your antipasto platter, etc. Enjoy!
2 bunches of asparagus
1.5 cups apple cider or red wine vinegar
1.5 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
2 Tbsp kosher salt
4 Tbsp pickling spice blend
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 slices of lemon
2 large jars — standard mason jars would work of course. or empty pasta sauce jars.
1. Thoroughly wash and then sterilize your jars. This can be accomplished by running them through the dishwasher or boiling them in hot water for several minutes.
2. Rinse the asparagus and trim to fit in your jars. Boil water in a large saucepan and blanch asparagus for 20 seconds.
3. In each jar, place a lemon slice and a garlic clove. Pack the blanched asparagus into the jars (tips up). Slip another lemon slice and garlic clove into the jar.
4. In a saucepan, boil the vinegar, water and spices. Remove from heat, let cool briefly, and then pour into jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of room at the top of each jar. Place lid on each jar and let cool until approximately room temperature. Place in the refrigerator.
5. Let the asparagus brine for at least 2-3 days in the refrigerator before eating. They will keep for several weeks, but they won’t last that long….