Picklers, non-picklers and thinking people everywhere understand that vegetables must be trimmed to fit the jars in which they’re to be pickled. It’s no big deal if you’re, say slicing kirbys which handily cram into tight spaces or pre-salting strips of peppers and onions, which soften into pliant tangles that fill jars with efficient ease. This recipe for thrifty asparagus pickles helps to solve this problem.
Relishes and chutneys are the welcome wagons of the pickle world — virtually anything is fair game if you can chop it into cubes or reduce to bits by grating or grinding.
Which brings us to asparagus, the conscientious pickler’s bête noir, especially when dealing with the robust stalks from local East Hampton patches. As each stalk needs its elegant tip there’s always heartbreak left on the cutting board in the form of the unused nether regions. Hence these two recipes for “thrifty” asparagus pickles.
Here’s how this use-every-bit strategy works: The showy pickled asparagus tips feature a bracing tarragon tonic. The lower stalks, trimmed of fibrous skins and scales, get a spicier enlivenment with hot pepper flakes and garlic. Mingling in strips of carrot to the asparagus bottoms avoids an otherwise albino appearance.
Click here for the thrifty recipes for Elegant Tarragon Asparagus Pickles and Spicy Asparagus Pickles.