Preserve the flavors of the season with these crisp, tangy, garlicky asparagus spears with a hint of hot pepper.
By Danielle Johnson
Get ready for this super yummy and healthy snack. It’s crisp, fresh, tangy, garlicky with a hint of hot pepper. I highly recommend making these Pickled Skinny Asparagus Snacks. So, don’t forget to add these to your list of must-dos.
This recipe is inspired by the produce section overflowing with asparagus, my love for pickled foods and having healthy snacks on hand. I pickle this using the lacto-fermentation method by placing the asparagus in a salt brine with spices and letting it ferment on the counter for 5-7 days. I used the skinny asparagus for this recipe, but you can use the fat ones too. The skinny asparagus are more tender and crisp.
Not only are pickled skinny asparagus snacks fresh and delicious, they have many health benefits too. Some include:
- Probiotic and full of fiber, making them great for digestion. So if you suffer from acid reflux, tummy aches and are constipated or have diarrhea, these foods can help ease your symptoms.
- Fermented foods help your body absorb vitamins and minerals more efficiently. If your digestion is poor, you are unable to absorb the nutrients you are eating which leads to many health problems. Fermented foods are “pre-digested” and help break down food more efficiently.
- Energy! As a result of being able to absorb nutrients more efficiently and less energy being used by your body to digest, you will have an increase in energy.
- Asparagus is a great source of Vitamin B6, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
Making pickles using this method is straight forward and requuires no fancy equipment. You will need a quart sized jar or similar, spices, purified water and high quality sea salt.
WHAT TO EXPECT
For the first few days the brine will be clear and the asparagus bright. About 3 days into fermentation the brine will get cloudy. This is a good thing. It means the lactic-acid bacteria are doing their job.
Once the brine is cloudy after 3-5 days, try one. It should taste sour and be crunchy. If they are not sour or are too crunchy, leave them out another day or two and try one again. Once they are to your liking place them in the fridge. They are ready to eat! They will smell like pickle heaven and be tender and crisp when ready.
- 1 quart size mason jar or any jar of similar size
- 1 bunch of skinny asparagus
- Pickling Spices:
- 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 fresh dill fronds
- 4 dried Thai or Japanese chilis
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- Salt Water Brine:
- 2½ cups water
- 2¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar or raw pineapple vinegar
- Soak the asparagus in ice water for 20 minutes to make them very crisp.
- Trim asparagus to fit the jar.
- Add asparagus to jar making sure the spears are sticking straight up.
- Add all the pickling spices to the jar (garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, dill, dried chilis & chili flakes).
- To make the salt water brine: Add sea salt and ½ cup of warm water to a bowl.
- Stir until salt has dissolved.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of water to the bowl. Wait until the water has cooled to room temperature. If it is cool to touch add the apple cider vinegar.
- Pour brine into the jar with the asparagus. There should be enough to submerge the asparagus under the brine. If not, make more brine and add to jar.
- Cover the jar loosely with a lid or cotton cloth secured with a rubber band. Store in a cool place away from direct sunlight for 5-7 days.
- Once the brine is cloudy, take an asparagus out and taste it. If it smells like pickle heaven and tastes pickly too, they are ready. Store in the fridge. Otherwise leave them out to ferment longer and try them again in a day or two.
Hi! I’m Danielle, I started Fermented Food Lab to educate and bring awareness of the health benefits of eating traditionally fermented foods. My goal is to get more people to try fermentation and love it. It's also a place where I can share what I invent in my kitchen, which I call, “the lab”, because I always have something unique and new fermenting on my counters.