When you’ve fermented asparagus you’re totally just showing off. Even unfermented, asparagus a nutrient-packed vegetable that delivers a nutritional punch of probiotics, wrangles in high cholesterol and fights cancer-causing cells. Maybe that’s why it’s shaped like a spear?
One of my favorite spring vegetables to ferment involves anything that uses asparagus. As soon as I see those sturdy stems and feathery foliage pop up in bunched bouquets at the farmers market, I swear they call my name.
And into the cart they go!
Asparagus demands to be treated simply.
I’ll take that.
Whether you bake, broil, grill, or ferment this vegetable, the approach to working with fermented asparagus remains the same–avoid doing too much with it and instead, just honor its natural broccoli-ish flavor.
But for something that’s so humble and simple, it sure knows it’s way around the kitchen. Fermented asparagus is excellent in breakfast casseroles, a variety of pastas, stir-frys, soups, and as a classic side.
Fermented Asparagus has a number of health benefits.
- It’s an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, flavonoids and polyphenols.
- Due to its high fiber content, asparagus promotes regularity and digestive health and may help reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- It’s high in folate (vitamin B9), an important nutrient that helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects during pregnancy.
Why is gut health such a big deal?
Modern research continues to find evidence confirming that the gut is waaaay more complex than we ever thought. Essentially, your gut’s performance is crucial for a number of other whole body operations. Your gut is actually part of its part of a microbiome that is the totality of microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi ( and other science-y words) present in the gastrointestinal tract.
That tract is what helps you absorb nutrients, so that your body has energy to do all the things we ask of it (physically, cognitively, and emotionally). As we continue to learn about all the good they do, why wouldn’t we want to find ways (and delicious recipes like this one) to keep our gut happy and healthy?
How do I start fermenting?
First this–it’s waaaay easier that you think. All you gotta do is remember the 3 C’s.
- Keep it clean: All the things-containers, lids, equipment, and ingredients.
- Keep it crouched: As in all the vegetables need to be below the limbo line of the brine.
- Keep it crammed: Like bees in a hive, honey. You need to expel as much air out as possible.
Favorite uses for fermented asparagus
- Serve as an appetizer on your charcuterie board alongside meat, cheese and crackers. You’ve got to try an asparagus, parmesan and prosciutto bundle!
- Add a few stalks to a bloody Mary or any any egg dish.
- Serve as a dinner side. Asparagus pairs well with almost everything.
- Pack them lunch bags for a healthy lunch or long car ride snack.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Always select crisp stalks with moist plump ends and round (not twisted) tips. Skip anything that looks dry and woody.
- For best results, use chlorine free water. Chlorine may negatively affect the ferment and compromise your results.
- The key to a successful ferment is that all of the ingredients must be kept under the brine. There are a number of ways to achieve this outside of the method I share. Check out Suitable covers, containers and weights for fermenting foods from the “Complete Guide to Home Canning ” revised 2009 edition for complete options.
Fermented Asparagus with Garlic & Dill | Recipe
- 1-2 lbs asparagus washed and dried
- 5-6 sprigs of fresh dill
- 6-10 cloves of garlic
- Optional: chili flakes, bay leaves, black peppercorns
- 3 teaspoons non-iodized salt
- Filtered water
- 1 wide mouth quart jar and lid
Make the Brine
- Add 1 ½ tablespoons of non-iodized salt to one quart of filtered water.
- Mix thoroughly with a vigorous shaking session or stove top boil to fully dissolve the salt.
- Set aside
Fill the Jar
- Wash and rinse your mason jar with hot water and soap.
- Add your spice, herbs, and garlic as desired to the jar.
- Cut the ends of the asparagus so that you can easily fit them into your wide mouth canning jar.
- Pack the spears in head down. Tuck them in close until you can’t possibly fit anymore in.
- Pour the brine into the jar, fully submerging the spears and all ingredients.
- Use leftover brine to create a weight by filling a plastic sandwich bag with the extra brine (in case it punctures) on top of the spears.
- Leave the jars to ferment on your counter for 3-4 days then “burp” the jars by unscrewing the lid (don’t take it completely off, just enough to let a little air in) once a day to release any built up CO2 pressure.
- Keep in a cool dark place for at least 7 days, and up to 30!
When is it ready?
When it reaches a flavor to your liking, remove the weight, cap with a lid and keep in the fridge where they’ll last for several weeks.
Look for this to happen in your jars
A few days after making your ferment, you’ll notice a thin while layer floating in your liquid.
Don’t freak out. It’s called kahm yeast.
Certain vegetables (like root veggies) are prone to getting it. Sometimes it’ll appear, sometimes it won’t.
Your ferment remains safe as long as you don’t see mold or anything fuzzy.