Blanch Asparagus Before Pickling To Get The Ultimate Flavor

asparagus bundle over steaming pot
asparagus bundle over steaming pot - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Humans have been pickling vegetables for more than 4,000 years. Although an ancient process, pickling is an easy method to breathe new life into almost any type of produce. There are many ways to boost the flavor of your pickles, including blanching. While most vegetables and fruits to be pickled and preserved are cut to expose the tender flesh underneath a tougher exterior, asparagus spears are usually pickled as whole stalks. Softening the woody outer layer of the asparagus by blanching before pickling allows for the spices and flavors in the brine to penetrate each spear more deeply, leading to a pickle that really packs a punch.

The blanching technique is extremely quick as you want the spears to be just barely tender and not overcooked, allowing for the brine to be absorbed without leading to a sad, soggy pickle. This brief extra step leads to achieving the ultimate flavor profile, and it's well worth the short amount of time you'll invest in the overall pickling process.

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Choose Fresh Asparagus And Blanch Quickly

asparagus held by utensil over pot
asparagus held by utensil over pot - Fermate/Getty Images

Make sure you start off with the freshest and most tender asparagus possible. While this vegetable is usually available year-round, there are some things to avoid when buying asparagus at the grocery store, such as spongy stalks or wilted tips. Once you have your spears ready, trim off the woody bottoms (but save them as there are plenty of uses for those leftover asparagus ends), then bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Once boiling, add the asparagus spears all at once and blanch for only about 30 seconds, being careful not to overcook them so they don't become too mushy or overly soft when pickled. Remove the spears from the boiling water and immediately submerge them into the prepared ice bath to quickly cool them down and stop the cooking process.

After they've cooled off completely, remove the asparagus stalks from the ice bath and lay them on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and pat dry. Once dry, you can move on to using the veggies in your favorite pickled asparagus recipe to create even more flavor. And save the brine after you've eaten all those delicious, flavorful, pickled asparagus spears because there are so many ways to use up leftover pickle juice.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.