Sriracha Pickled Asparagus

Game Day: Bourbon4Urban and Bloody Marys with Sriracha Pickled Asparagus

I grew to love asparagus later in life. I was thrilled when I learned that it was one of the few cooked veggies Harry would eat, as long as it wasn't cooked to mush. Yes, people still do that. We'll chop it up and add to hot, drained orzo for a quick dinner and it just gets hot - delicious.

We also - obviously - like our Bloody Marys during football season. My base recipe always includes Frank's Red Hot. The garnish is typically a few olives or maybe a dill pickle or celery stalk.

In July, we had a meeting of livers friends old and new in Columbus. My friend Dr. Ivy brought some of her home-canned goodies to share. I'd heard of pickled asparagus, but had never had it. She and her husband (I learned later) had harvested 70 pounds of asparagus from the garden in NW Pennsylvania and needed to find a way to preserve it. We all know it's not a friendly world to eat that much asparagus over a few short weeks of harvest time.

My friend's intentions were to garnish Bloody Marys with the Sriracha Pickled Asparagus. But, one thing led to another and everyone ended up just eating them out of the jar. By the time I arrived on Saturday morning, there was one spear left. I shared it with another gal and fell in love. With the asparagus. I couldn't stop telling Harry about it. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I begged Ivy for the recipe.

Ivy had turned to the interwebz and found The Ward Cannerist. The blog hasn't been active since 2011, but thanks to technology, we were able to use that recipe. I experimented first with a refrigerator-pickled version (see below). After Harry and I were very happy with that, we canned 8 pints following the water bath canning instructions.

We have incredibly black thumbs, so nothing ever grows in our garden, containers, window boxes...I bought our asparagus at Kroger. By the time we learned of this little slice of heaven in a canning jar, it was long past asparagus season here in Ohio.

I've learned that 2 quarts and 8 pints is not enough for my family. I think we have one pint left in the basement, plus a couple of partial jars in the fridge. If you like some spicy pickled veggies, this is THAT good. I did have to change my Bloody Mary recipe just a bit. If we're garnishing with the Sriracha Pickled Asparagus, I leave out the Frank's - we don't need it.

The below recipe makes 2 quarts. We still have some in our fridge, having been opened, after 4 months. The refrigerator method only requires a couple of weeks to brine. If you have a spare fridge in the basement, it's a perfect place to store several quarts to get you through the year. To get the water bath method recipes, head over to The Ward Cannerist. You'll have to scroll down the page for the sriracha variation.

Sriracha Pickled Asparagus - Refrigerator Version (makes 2 quarts)

Sterilize 2 quart canning jars and their rings. You can do this by covering with boiling water in a large kettle and simmering (bubbles breaking surface) for 10 minutes. Place the seals into a bowl and cover with boiling water.

Clean and trim 2 pounds of asparagus.

In a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups white vinegar, 3 cups water (we use bottled spring water for canning), and 1/4 cup pickling salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes.

Divide the asparagus evenly between the two sterilized jars. Then, add to each jar the following:

1/2 cup sriracha
6 cloves garlic, peeled, halved
8 peppercorns
2 teaspoons dill seed.

Pour the hot brine over the asparagus mixture in the jars. Add the seals and rings, but do not over-tighten the rings. Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in refrigerator for at least two weeks.

This will keep for several months in the refrigerator.

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