This is a great addition to antipasto plates, salads, or as a fancy garnish to the Canadian classic, Caesar cocktail.
2 bunches asparagus*
1 cup (250 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) natural white vinegar
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar or Sucanat
2 tsp (10 mL) kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 or 3 sprigs fresh dill
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cumin seeds
1/2 tsp (2 mL) mustard seeds
2 - 500 mL Mason jars, lids, and screw bands
*1 bunch skinny spears = about 38 pieces
Sterilize jars and lids for Mason jars. Trim asparagus bottoms so spears fit about 1/2 in (1 cm) below rim of a 500 mL jar. Blanch asparagus in boiling water, then immediately cool in ice bath.
In saucepan, bring water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil. Portion garlic, dill, and seasonings into 2 piles and set aside.
Working quickly, place 1 herb and spice pile in bottom of each jar. Then add asparagus spears, tips pointing downward. Depending on thickness of spears, plan on 1 bunch for each jar. Be sure to pack in as many spears as possible. Pour boiling brine over top, leaving 1/8 in (3 mm) at top of each jar. Wipe rims, then cover with sterilized lids and lightly tighten screw bands.
Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes; remove carefully. Best to let sit a few weeks to let flavour develop before eating. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Makes 2 - 500 mL Mason jars.
Each 2-spear serving contains: 5 calories; 1 g protein; 0 g total fat (0 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 1 g carbohydrates; 0 g fibre; 30 mg sodium
source: "Spring's Green Goodness", alive #331, May 2010
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