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Pickled Asparagus

  • About 30 thin-as-possible asparagus spears
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • 1-1/2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp dill seed
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and sliced into very thin rings
  • 2 small hot red chile peppers, fresh or dried
  • 2 stalks of fresh dill

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut the spears into 3-1/2 inch lengths. Place the asparagus in a large enamel or stainless steel bowl. Combine cold water and 1/4 cup salt; cover asparagus with the solution. Let stand uncovered for 2 hours. Drain the asparagus and rinse under cool water. Pat dry. Combine the vinegar, sugar, 1 tsp salt, mustard seed, dill seed, and onion rings in an enamel or stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Pack the cooled asparagus, tips up, in hot, sterilized canning jars (pint size; wide-mouth jars are probably easier to pack), making sure to leave 1/2 inch of headroom. The best way to do this is to line the asparagus around the inner edge of the jar first and then fill in the center. Tuck a hot red chile pepper and 1 dill stalk into each jar. Pour hot pickling liquid into jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the rims, making sure all spears are thoroughly covered. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth and seal with lids. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature, check seal, label, and store in a cool dark place for up to 12 months. Yield: 2 pints

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