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Pickled Asparagus

About 30 thin-as-possible asparagus spears
2 quarts cold water
1/4 cup coarse salt
1-1/2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp dill seed
1 small white onion, peeled and sliced into very thin rings
2 small hot red chile peppers, fresh or dried
2 stalks of fresh dill

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut the spears into
3-1/2 inch lengths. Place the asparagus in a large enamel or
stainless steel bowl. Combine cold water and 1/4 cup salt; cover
asparagus with the solution. Let stand uncovered for 2 hours.
Drain the asparagus and rinse under cool water. Pat dry.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, 1 tsp salt, mustard seed, dill seed,
and onion rings in an enamel or stainless steel saucepan. Bring
to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

Pack the cooled asparagus, tips up, in hot, sterilized canning jars
(pint size; wide-mouth jars are probably easier to pack), making
sure to leave 1/2 inch of headroom. The best way to do this is to
line the asparagus around the inner edge of the jar first and then
fill in the center. Tuck a hot red chile pepper and 1 dill stalk
into each jar.

Pour hot pickling liquid into jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of
the rims, making sure all spears are thoroughly covered. Wipe rims
with a clean damp cloth and seal with lids. Process in boiling
water bath for 10 minutes.

Cool to room temperature, check seal, label, and store in a cool
dark place for up to 12 months.

Yield: 2 pints

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