Pickled Asparagus and Sprouting Things

Tonight I made pickled asparagus with 4 bunches of organic asparagus.

Chris and I recently went to New Hope and I found a book called Food in Jars in a local book shop. I can’t resist books with titles like that, so I picked it up, and it has great recipes. There are so many that I want to try this summer.

Since spring is here and the asparagus is starting to pour in I thought I’d make a pickled version. The author recommended using Penzey’s pickling spice, which is a mail-order company. It’s amazing. It arrived today and their herbs and spices are so fresh… they smell incredible! I can’t wait to use it again. I also ordered ground anise (so that I can bake anisette toast) and they sent us a free lemon pepper spice blend. Yum. That will be great on the fish that I plan to make more often.

Penzeys pickling spice - it smells so good! Pretty too.

Penzeys pickling spice – it smells so good! Pretty too.

As far as this recipe is concerned, next time I have to but the asparagus shorter, the tips bent over because I didn’t factor in the thickness of the slice of lemon on the bottom of the jar when I trimmed the asparagus. I also had to leave out the dried chili because I forgot to buy it. Hope it still comes out ok. I’ll know in 24 hours… I might let it sit a little longer to let it get more pickly.

waiting for spices and pickling juice

waiting for spices and pickling juice – they’re too tall!

4 bunches made 4 pint jars. Adapted from Food in Jars, by Marisa McClellan


  • 4 pounds asparagus, trimmed to fit your pint jars and blanched in boiling water for approximately 10 seconds
  • 3 cups vinegar (half apple cider vinegar, half white vinegar) – I only had white
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons Penzeys pickling spice
  • 1 tablespoon red hot chili flakes I forgot this
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • 4 pint jars (it would have been better if I had the taller jars so I didn’t have to cut them short)


  1. Put a lemon slice in the bottom and pack the trimmed and blanched asparagus into the jars. Tuck a garlic clove down into the asparagus spears.
  2. Bring the vinegar, water and spices to a boil. Pour into jars on top of asparagus, leaving at least 1/2 inch of head space.
  3. Process jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (skip this step if you plan on just putting your pickles in the fridge).
  4. Wait at least 24 hours before eating, to give the asparagus spears a chance to get sufficiently pickly.

UPDATE: These were delicious, but I would cut the amount of pickling spice. The herbs were so fresh in the pickling spice mix that they were super strong. The flavors are amazing… next time I’ll cut the spice down to 2 tsp per pint jar.


Notice the slice of lemon in the bottom? Great idea!

To get to the sprouting things I mentioned in the title, the arugula and chard seeds are sprouting! I peeked under the greenhouse cover of my vegtrug, and there they were! Yay spring!


arugula – itty bitty sprouts!


swiss chard has sprouted too!


the chives are just shooting up so fast!


A rogue daffodil… I only planted tulips!… so I thought. 🙂


The only remaining tulip with a head… Scruffy bit off all the others!


Green tomato pickles

We tore out the tomato plants this weekend. After the hurricane and all of this cool weather and rain they are not producing or ripening anymore.
Not sure what to do with the green ones, so I decided to pickle them. Just made 1 quart jar. They now need 4-6 weeks to cure! We’ll see how they taste. I had no garlic cloves so I left that out of the recipe.
green tomatoes (cored and halved or quartered depending on size)
1.5 cups water
1.5 cups white vinegar
1/8 cup kosher salt
4 tsp dill seeds
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves (didn’t have them)
Boil water, vinegar and salt. Fill quart jar with tomatoes, leaving 1/4″ head room. Add bay leaves and dill seeds. Add boiling mixture, leaving 1/4″ head room, and seal jar. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Leave in cool dark place to cure for 4-6 weeks.

Refrigerator Garden Pickles

10 kirby cukes from the farm share were begging to be made into pickles. The hardest part was not eating the cukes from last week so that I could save them up. We’ve been getting 5 each week.
This recipe is so easy. All of the veggies were from the farm share. Guilt-free pickles and no cooking or canning!

Filled jars. Click to enlarge.
Jars in fridge after a little settling. Click to enlarge and see the great colors!

8 cups sliced unpeeled cukes (about 3/8″) – was 10 longish kirbys this time
2 cups sliced onions (sliced very fine) – used 1 small red and 1/2 a white onion
1 cup julienne red bell pepper – (used mandoline to slice fine) used one small green and one small orange
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Vinegar mixture ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1.5 cups white vinegar
2 tsp celery seed
2 tsp mustard seed (used yellow)

Combine all veggies and salt in bowl, mix and let sit for 1 hour. Drain.
Combine vinegar, sugar, celery seed and mustard seed in container and stir until blended and sugar dissolved.
Put veggie mixture in jars and pour vinegar mixture to cover.
Cover jars and chill in fridge for at least 24 hours to blend flavors.
Makes about 8 cups. Lasts about 6 weeks in fridge.

This recipe filled three quart-size jars to the top (I don’t have pint jars, and half-pints are too small). I had to double the liquid part of the recipe.

My new favorite tool: the mandoline!

Cukes, onions, and peppers sitting in salt. Yum.  🙂

Can’t wait to taste this! Probably best after a week, so I’ll update the post in a week.

UPDATE: This is the best fridge pickle recipe… we love it. I make it every summer and use it on sandwiches and cheese and crackers, and by itself…. so good!