Asparagus kimchi pickles Adapted from Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey
We’ve talked at length about kombucha, fermented our own garlic and even delved into pickling (both brined and fermented), so it was only a matter of time before our fermentation game got a little stronger.
Fermentation is simply the process of converting carbohydrates into alcohol and carbon dioxide using yeast and/or bacteria. That bubbling that you see with foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir? That’s a good thing!
If you recall, beneficial bots (probiotics) are produced through the fermentation process that offers a cacophony of health benefits including aiding the body in producing vitamins, absorbing minerals, eliminating toxins, reducing allergies, and generally supporting both physical and mental health. And since fermentation basically requires 2 things—food and time—it’s super easy to do at home.
Mix your asparagus with a combination of flavourful, nutritious flavour-enhancers, give it a few days, and your health tonic awaits. A cross between pickles and kimchi, these crunchy, punchy spears will bring some vibrancy to your next snack and your health!
Asparagus Kimchi Pickles
Notes: You’ll need a 2L glass jar, 2 1L glass jars OR a medium-large, shallow, rectangular Tupperware container.
- 2 L water
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp sea salt
- ½ cup grated carrot
- A ½ cup grated radish
- ½ thinly sliced green onion
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp grated, fresh ginger
- 5 cloves garlic, grated
- 1½ lb asparagus spears, woody ends removed
To Make the Brine
Bring the water to a boil and add in the salt. Stir to dissolve then turn the heat off and set aside to cool.
To Make the Kimchi Pickles
- In a medium bowl, mix the carrot, radish, green onion, red pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic together with your hands, making a sort-of paste.
- Alternately arrange the asparagus spears and paste in the jar(s) or Tupperware container, trying not to break the fragile asparagus tips. In the jars, you can stand the spears upright, packing the paste in around them. In the Tupperware, just layer it all in, trying to evenly distribute the paste around the spears.
- Top with the brine so that all of the asparagus is covered. You’ll likely have leftover liquid. In the off chance that you need more, just repeat the recipe. Put the remaining brine in the fridge and cover the asparagus with plastic wrap close to the surface to keep everything submerged in the brine.
- Set aside to ferment in a cool, dry, dark place for 5-8 days. If during the fermentation period, the brine goes below the level of asparagus, simply top it up with the additional refrigerated brine. It is common to see some scum appear at the top.
- The asparagus is ready when the brine is cloudy and the asparagus is a duller green colour. It should taste sour, punchy, and salty.
- Store the pickles in the fridge in their liquid and in jars with tightly sealed lids. Check to make sure they’re still submerged a day later and top up with more brine, if necessary. They’ll keep in the fridge for about a year.