Kathy introduced me to dilly beans from a farm in New Hampshire – how I’ve lived this long without knowing how good pickled green beans out of a jar could be will remain a mystery, but I’m now officially hooked. Her daughter bought them for her as a present, and yet there I was, eating half the jar because I couldn’t get enough of their sweet, hot, garlicky flavor.
I made a batch, only with asparagus, right when I got home from New York. When I packaged them up to put them in the fridge, our conversation went like this:
HIM: Those aren’t going to be a success. (He used the word “success.”)
ME: No? Why not?
HIM: They look like a science project gone wrong. Like they’re in formaldehyde.
ME: You’re wrong.
Then, later, when he realized he was about to leave for a week, he tried to redeem himself:
HIM: Boy, I can’t wait until those asparagus are done. They’re going to be so good.
Recipe for Dilly Spears
Recipe 85 of 365
Pickling asparagus overnight in an apple cider vinegar brine with garlic, dill, and hot pepper flakes makes vegetables that are as alluring to me as potato chips at snacktime.
Note that these asparagus pickles are meant to be enjoyed within a few weeks of making; they are not shelf-stable.
TIME: 10 minutes, plus a day or two for pickling
MAKES: a convenient snack for anyone passing by
NEED: 1 large Mason jar, the kind that’s about 8” tall
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed to the height of the Mason jar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water, plus more if needed
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Combine all the ingredients in a large skillet. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook 2 minutes, turning the asparagus frequently. Remove from heat. Carefully transfer the spears to the jar, tips up, then add the liquid. Add as much water a necessary to top off the jar with liquid. Cool the asparagus to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Let sit 24 to 48 hours, and enjoy.