Chef Ian Riddick's pickled sea asparagus

Pickle as much of these as possible when they are in season, so you can have them on hand anytime.

pickled sea asparagus recipe

If this sea vegetable sounds familiar, it might be because we broke down the five Ws of it on the site last year. But if it doesn't sound familiar, then you've got some learning to do! Although peak season for sea asparagus is typically during the warmer months (May to August, depending on the coastal area of the country), these small, tender green stalks can be found fresh from specialty food shops or through various suppliers at any time of year.

Chef Ian Riddick of the Long Beach Lodge Resort, a beautiful hotel property just a few metres away from the pacific ocean on the edge of Tofino, refers to this crunchy, briny produce as samphire, as the sea veggie can go by a number of different titles. At the hotel, he likes to preserve samphire when it's plentiful, so it can be used as an accent to menu items yearround.

"Samphire is available in coastal areas in British Columbia from June –July, coinciding with garlic scape season, so I like to add one to each jar," says Riddick.


Pickled sea asparagus

1/2 tsp mustard seeds, divided
24 whole black peppercorns, divided
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, divided
4 handfuls sea asparagus, rinsed in fresh water, enough to fill 4 jars
4 1-cm piece ginger root, divided
4 whole garlic scape, or 8 garlic cloves, divided
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar

Sterilize 4 500-mL jars and lids in a large pot of boiling water. 

When jars are cool enough to handle, divide mustard seeds, peppercorns and coriander seeds evenly between jars. Pack each jar half full with sea asparagus. Divide ginger and garlic scape evenly between jars, and insert around sea asparagus. Fill jars with remaining sea asparagus.

In a separate pot over high heat, bring water and vinegar to a boil. Ladle liquid into the jars, leaving about 1/2-inch head space between the top of the sea asparagus and the lip of the jar. Wipe jar edge with clean cloth and screw on sterilized lids.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, keeping the jars fully submerged the entire time. Remove and allow to cool completely at room temperature. Check lids for proper seal. Store for at least one month before using to allow flavours to develop.

4 500-mL jars
Prep Time:
20 minutes
Cook Time:
10 minutes