Lacto-Fermented Asparagus Recipe

Make your own pickled asparagus from one of the spring’s first vegetables. Give it a probiotic boost by using fermented brine.

| June 2019

Photo from Adobe Stock

One of the first vegetables to become available in spring, asparagus turns out to be an amazing pickled product. It maintains a good crunch when fermented up to two weeks, and is a whole lot cheaper than commercial varieties. Look for fresh asparagus at farmers’ markets or your local grocery store to make a quick batch, and you’ll be hooked. If you don’t have any brine from other vegetables on hand, simply substitute an additional 1 tablespoon of salt instead.

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
Makes 1 quart 

Photo from Adobe Stock


  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed to at least 1-inch shorter than the jar
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed pickling spice
  • 1/2 cup fermented vegetable brine
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
A CLOSER LOOK: The woody stems of asparagus should be removed before preparing this recipe. Bend each stalk near the bottom and the woody part will snap right off.


  1. Wash and dry the asparagus. Pack the garlic cloves, peppercorns, and mixed pickling spice into the jar. Fit the asparagus snugly in the jar, tips all either up or down, leaving about 1 inch of headspace.
  2. Pour the vegetable brine over the asparagus. In a small bowl, mix the water and salt until the salt is dissolved. Pour this over the asparagus to cover it. If it is not covered, add a little more water until it is. If necessary, add a weight to hold the asparagus submerged in the brine. Cover the jar with a nonreactive lid and leave the jar in a room temperature location. 
  3. After a day or two, bubbles should begin to form and rise in the jar, signaling fermentation. Watch the jar every day, and if any scum appears on the surface of the brine, skim it off and rinse off the weight. Repack the weight into the mouth of the jar and continue fermentation. 
  4. Test the asparagus after 5 days by removing a piece with a clean utensil and cutting off a small slice for a taste before returning it. If it tastes good, it’s done. If they’re not yet to your liking, return the weight to the mouth of the jar and continue fermentation for up to 14 days total.
  5. When fermentation is complete, remove the weight, cap the jar with a nonreactive lid, and transfer it to the refrigerator where the spears will keep for about 1 month.

More from DIY Pickling: Step-by-Step Recipes for Fermented, Fresh, and Quick Pickles:

diy-picklingMake the time-honored tradition of pickling simple and accessible with this handy DIY guide. From Japanese Tsukemono to Korean kimchi, from German sauerkraut to Indian chutney, pickling is part of a long and rich tradition of food culture around the world, and with DIY Pickling, making delicious sweet, sour, spicy and fermented pickles in your own kitchen has never been easier. Included are the fundamental pickling techniques that you'll turn to again and again in your pursuit of pickling perfection. Work your way through a wide range of pickling projects with over 100 step-by-step pickling recipes, detailed troubleshooting guides to ensure pickling success, insider tips and anecdotes from pickling experts, chapters dedicated to fermented pickles and Asian pickles, instructions for canning and storing your pickles, and a bonus chapter about how to integrate pickles into your everyday cooking. Whether you are new to pickling or looking to go beyond the basics, DIY Pickling will give you the tools and tips you need to unleash your inner kitchen crafter and master your pickling skills.

Reprinted with permission from DIY Pickling: Step-by-Step Recipes for Fermented, Fresh, and Quick Pickles by Rockridge Press and published by Rockridge Press, 2015.



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