BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

In an (Asparagus) Pickle

with 3 comments

Dilly pickles I boiling-water canned at home

Dilly pickles I boiling-water canned at home

Pickles we low-pasteurize water-bath canned in class

Pickles we low-pasteurize water-bath canned in class

Learning pickling has been my favorite part of the 8-week master food preservation program I’m doing through Oregon State’s extension office. Asparagus are now officially my favorite vegetable to pickle. Make some while the elusive green stalks are still in season this fleeting spring. I made a batch at home this week with local asparagus from Sunbow Farm. Boiling-water canning the pickles for 10 minutes was no problem: all the jars popped, sealed shut, upon removal. But I could have used a few extra hands of help like I’ve gone accustomed to having in our class.

Just about everyone seems interested in canning these days, whether motivated to save money, preserve local produce or simply learn an ancient food art. The New York Times had a big canning feature last week, focusing on Eugenia Bone, author of the new cookbook, Well Preserved. Then NPR features Preserved on its list of the “10 Best Summer Cookbooks.” I’ve never gotten more Facebook comments then when I posted pickling photos from my preservation class. It’s a sign of the times. Now my cousin and I lament the fact my grandmother never taught us to make her curry pickles. But as a kid, I never thought making her pickles or famous raspberry jam would interest me. Yet, here I am.

I tried to recreate the Oregon-made dilly asparagus Pretty Pickles by adding dill seed to my recipe. I also like extra garlic, but I ran out. Add a whole cayenne pepper for spice and colorful effect, if you like. Experiment with any spices you like but don’t mess with the instructions on heating the brine and water-bath processing times. I like that Eugenia Bone’s recipe has that extra garlic. But I used the simple one from my OSU Extension “Pickling Vegetables” booklet (see page 15 for asparagus). What’s your favorite food to pickle?

I will not be pickling eggs, as our teacher did in class. But their pink pickled beet-enhanced color did contrast nicely with the yolks.

Pickled eggs

Pickled eggs

Written by baltimoregon

June 5, 2009 at 12:34 am

3 Responses

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  1. I pickled asparagus yesterday, not for the first time, and the solution in the jar turned pink after a 10-minute hot bath. The asparagus “petals” did have quite a pink/purple hue so maybe this is what caused it. Any ideas or experience with this?

    I used 50% white vinegar, 50% purified water, kosher salt, hot peppers, garlic, and dill. Same as always.


    April 25, 2010 at 8:40 am

    • I’m sure it’s from the purple-hued asparagus. Mine did the same thing. I thought it was kind of pretty to have the colored brine. Doesn’t affect the flavor. The same thing happened with red-hued okra. Happy Pickling!


      April 25, 2010 at 10:39 am

    • How did you find my blog? Where are you in Canada?


      April 25, 2010 at 10:40 am

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