Last year at a gift shop far from home, Jim and I bought a jar of “hot asparagus bullets” – spicy pickled asparagus. He’s a huge fan of both asparagus and pickles, and while I usually don’t like pickles much, the garlicky heat of these drew me in. Before we knew it, we had finished the jar. He and I looked everywhere we went, but we couldn’t find more anywhere. Finally, this spring he found some, but they were just plain pickled asparagus, and not nearly as good as the first ones. That’s when I decided to make some.
I used the instructions hereas a guide, using the maximum amount of garlic and hot peppers. I also subbed sherry vinegar for half of the white vinegar and dried tarragon for a third of the dill.
Jim declared that these were better than the first ones we bought. These are a great way to capture the last asparagus of spring. Be warned, they are very hot, so adjust to your own taste accordingly.
1 pound asparagus
6 – 10 cloves garlic
1 large jalapeño
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sherry vinegar (or any other vinegar you like)
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon whole black pepper
Sterilize enough canning jars to hold a quart of pickles (I used 2 pint jars.) Hereis the method I use to sterilize canning jars, although I just use my largest soup pot. Make sure you sterilize the tongs you will use to lift the jars out of the hot water with, also.
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus spears and discard; slice asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Peel the garlic. Slice the jalapeño into rings; discard the stem but keep the seeds. Layer the asparagus pieces, garlic, and jalapeño in the jars.
Bring water, vinegar, salt, dill, tarragon, and pepper to a boil. Pour over the vegetables. Allow the jars to cool to about room temperature before screwing on the lids. Refrigerate. Try to hold off for a few days to a week before you open the first jar!
Makes 1 quart.
[UPDATE 5/29/2013: I realized I left the pepper out of the instructions – that’s been fixed.]