A while back, as I prepared for dinner a casserole of Country Asparagus au Gratin, I quickly decided to put away a jar of pickled asparagus with the remaining spears. Refrigerator pickles are so easy to make. Once you have the necessary spices, and most kitchens do, all it really takes is a few more ingredients, including whatever the intended pickling vegetable will be.
In less time than it takes to bake the casserole, the jar of asparagus is cooling down on the kitchen counter awaiting the rest period in the fridge. It really is that easy folks. Now I tested these after a couple of days as most cucumber pickles are ready overnight or at least after two days. To me, the spears were slightly pickled but not to the point where I thought they should be. I checked them after seven days and they were perfect, out-of-sight in fact and were exactly what I wanted. Just enough sweetness to balance out the heat and with a nice, sharp edgy taste from the brine and easily handling the delightful flavors of the spices. If you like tangy, sweet-heat pickles, this is a recipe for you…. Enjoy!
for each quart jar
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1/4 sweet onion, sliced vertically
2 lemon slices
1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, julienne
2 small bay leaves (omit if your pickling spice contains bay leaf)
2 tablespoons minced prepared garlic, drained
2 tablespoons pickling spice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons canning salt
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup distilled water
1 cup white vinegar
Arrange the washed spears loosely in the quart jar so that the tips are 1-inch below the rim. Arrange the lemon sliced around the outer edge and add the onions randomly. Pack more spears as tight as you can.
In a saucepan, add remaining ingredients and heat until boiling. Stir until sugar and salt dissolves. Pour mixture into the jar leaving 1/2-inch head space. Be sure to spoon all of the spices into the jar and top off with additional vinegar if needed. Allow contents to cool to room temperature. Tighten with lid and refrigerate for4 to 7 days; the longer, the more intense the flavor.
Note: Easy to can too, just process in a water bath for 5 minutes to seal lids.