What you see here are my latest efforts. Carrot pickles and asparagus pickles, both with tarragon and garlic. As much as I love a big, fat, pickled cucumber I'm steering clear of that particular veggie for the time being. They can be trouble and somewhat particular and idiosyncratic when it comes to their briny treatment. Also, people tend to be a bit fussy when it comes to their cucumbers so until I have a better grasp of their nuances I'm keeping my hands off. I realize that this is my third such pickling recipe on the blog in as many weeks but I don't think I should need an arm twisting to show off my antique Victorian pickle fork, do I? (Besides, I feel a new obsession (explosion) coming on and I have to get these veggies put up for the cold harsh winter while I can!)
I wasn't that interested in using a store bought pickling spice this time so I did a little research (this means I scoured the blogasphere) and my 'aha' moment was centered on one thing: Tarragon. It is one of my absolute favorite herbs as it just reeks of class for me. (Using the word "reeks" alas, does not. ) I thought I would be extra clever and skip the parboil of the veggies before loading them into the jars. My thinking was that they will cook enough in the hot brine and water bath treatment so why overcook them? Turns out there is a reason for this step: Kevin at Saving the Season tells me that the parboiled veggies are actually a bit smaller after this treatment (the veggies lose a bit of volume as they lose water to the boil) and a tad more flexible so packing them in the bottle tighter will be easier with the parboil. Who knew?
Pickled Asparagus and Pickled Carrots
with tarragon and garlic.
adapted from Saving the Season
- 3 lbs fat fresh asparagus
- 3 cups white wine vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 teaspoons salt
Per pint jar:
- 1 clove garlic or 1/4 of a small head of green garlic
- 3-inch leafy branch of fresh tarragon
- 1 dried red chili
- 1 lemon cut into very thin slices
- 6 whole black pepper
- 5 whole coriander seed
- pinch mustard seed
- 2 whole allspice cut stalks into 4-inch lengths to fit jars.
If you parboil the asparagus and carrots do so in rapidly boiling water for 45 seconds, just long enough to set a bright color and make the spears pliable. "Shock" the hot spears in an ice-water bath. Then drain. Pack asparagus and carrots into the jars so that you have a snug fit, but don't overcrowd.
Make the vinegar syrup by combining vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Fill each jar with hot vinegar syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims and seal. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.