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Pickled Asparagus

5 large garlic cloves, sliced
15 allspice berries
30 black peppercorns
20 coriander seeds
5 small pieces of mace or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (optional)
3 pounds asparagus, trimmed to fit into 12-ounce jelly jars
2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Divide the garlic, allspice, peppercorns, coriander, mace or nutmeg,
and pepper flakes (if you're using them) among 5 12-ounce jelly
jars. Pack the asparagus vertically in the jars, tips down or up.

In a nonreactive saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water,
salt, and sugar, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour
the hot liquid over the asparagus, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Close the jars with hot two-piece caps. Process the jars for 10
minutes in a boiling-water bath, or pasteurize the jars for 30
minutes in water heated to 180 to 185 degrees F.

Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 3
weeks before eating the asparagus.

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