- 2 pounds asparagus, washed, lower ends snapped off or peeled
- Two 3-inch strips of lemon zest (optional)
- 3 cups vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons dill seed or coriander seed or thyme
- 2 peeled garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
Trim asparagus spears to fit your jars. This quantity of asparagus fills one quart-size Mason jar and one pint, with a little left over, but use any containers you have. Fit them into the jars, pointy ends up, leaving a half inch of headroom above them. Slide the lemon zest, if using, into each jar among the spears. You could also simply cut the spears into 2-inch lengths and pile them in any which way, but the long spears look elegant.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the hot brine and seasonings into jars, covering the tips completely, and poke the garlic down among the spears. Cool, seal, and store in the refrigerator. The pickles are ready to eat in 24 hours and will keep for months.
By Joan Kocsis:
Besides writing on food and cooking, Joan Kocsis writes for students from elementary to high school, sneaking in vegetable-growing instructions whenever possible. Her asparagus bed is 15 years old.