Blanch any tender trimmings from the bottom of the stalks and freeze them in freezer bags. Or, as an alternative, cook the trimmings in boiling water until tender, then puree and freeze.
- 1 pound thick asparagus tips cut 4 inches long (from about 3 bunches)
- 2 cups rice vinegar (4% acidity)
- 1½ teaspoons pure kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons Pickling Spice
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
Prepare for water-bath canning: Wash the jars and keep them hot in the canning pot, and put the flat lids in a heatproof bowl (see Notes for details).
In a wide saucepan, bring 2 inches water to a boil, then add the asparagus; bring back to a boil, then immediately drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well.
In a nonreactive pot, combine the vinegar, 1 cup water, the salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil.
Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel. Drain the water off the jar lids.
Divide the asparagus, pickling spice, and garlic cloves between the hot jars. Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into the jars, leaving l/2 inch headspace at the top. Use a chopstick to remove air bubbles around the inside of each jar. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid and ring on each jar, adjusting the ring so that it's just finger-tight. Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes to process. Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn't sealed, and the jar should be refrigerated immediately. Label the sealed jars and store.