A good pickle is all about texture. It should have a satisfying crunch as you bite into it. It should be firm and crisp. It should make your eyes light up with delight as you eat it.
Which brings me to okra, the poster child of vegetables with texture issues. "Eww, it's slimy!"
Yes. Yes, okra often suffers from slipperiness. But it all depends on how you prepare it.
Cooked fresh into a pickle, like this, it's not slimy. It's crunchy.
Okra Was Made for Pickling
I am convinced that okra makes the best pickles ever. The inside of an okra pod is somewhat hollow, with tender seeds, but a lot of air.
These air pockets fill up with the pickling juice when you pickle the okra, and it's a texture wonderland when you bite into them. That and okra just tastes good.
Where to Find Okra
I planted okra in the garden for the first time this year, so I now have my own steady supply. I have not found any decent looking okra at the stores, but the farmers market this time of year has plenty of beautiful fresh okra.
Look for unblemished pods, and if you are using pint sized jars, no more than 4 inches long.
Pickled Okra: Can It or Just Eat It
As for making the pickles, it couldn't be easier. You actually pack the fresh okra into the jars with the pickling spices. Pour in pickling liquid, put lids on, and put the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes.
You can water-bath can these for shelf storage. But you can skip that if you just want to store them in the fridge and eat them up quickly.
Pickle a Peck of Summer Veg!
- Jalapeño Bread and Butter Pickles
- Corn Relish
- Green Tomato Chutney
- Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños)
- Easy Refrigerator Pickles
You can either use the pickling spice combination recommended here, your own favorite pickling spice blend, or already packaged pickling spices. You'll need 4 tablespoons for 4 pint jars of pickles.
1 1/2 pounds fresh okra pods (3 1/2 to 4 inches long)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 (1/4-inch) thick slices of lemon
2 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
2 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Prepare for canning:
Put a steamer rack at the bottom of a large (16-quart) pot, and place the jars on the rack.
Fill the pot with water to the rim of the jars. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes.
Because the jars will be processed in the water bath for more than 10 minutes, it is not necessary to first sterilize the jars for this recipe. Do make sure your jars are clean and hot.
If you are planning to eat the pickles right away and store them the whole time in the refrigerator, you can skip the water bath step.
Wash the lids in hot, soapy water. Dry well.
Make the brine:
Place vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar, reduce heat, and keep warm.
Prep the okra:
While the water is heating in step one, prepare the okra and the spices. Rinse the okra and trim the stem ends to 1/4 inch.
Gather the spices:
Place all of the pickling spices in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Put the lemon, spices, and garlic in the hot jars:
Lay out a clean towel on your counter. Use canning tongs to remove the jars from the boiling water, emptying the water from the jars.
Place the hot jars on the towel on your counter. Placing the hot jars on a towel will help prevent them from getting shocked by a cold counter surface and potentially cracking.
Place a lemon slice at the bottom of each jar. Add a tablespoon of the mixed pickling spices to each jar. Place a peeled garlic clove on top of the spices and lemon.
Pack the okra in the jars:
Pack the okra in the jars, alternating stem-side-up and stem-side-down to allow you to pack the okra well into the jars. The top of the okra should come between 1/2 to 1 inch from the rim of the jar.
Pour the brine over the okra:
Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the jars, up to 1/4 inch from the rim of the jars. Run a thin knife between the okra and the jars to dislodge any obvious air bubbles.
Okra is filled with air, so while you run the knife between the okra and the jars, air bubbles will be released from within the okra as well. If the top level of the pickling liquid lowers while you do this, just top off with more of the pickling liquid.
If for any reason you don't have enough pickling liquid for all the jars, just add equal amounts of cider vinegar and water. No need to heat first, the liquid will get boiled in the hot water bath.
Wipe the rims, then put on the lids:
Wipe the rims with a clean damp towel. Place the lids on jars. Screw on the the lids, firmly, but not too tight.
Boil the okra-filled jars:
Place the packed jars back in the pot with water you used to heat the jars. The water should still be hot. Because the jars are now full jars, rather than empty, some water will be displaced. Allow for 1 to 2 inches of water to cover the jars. Beyond that you may want to remove excess water.
Bring to a full rolling boil, then boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove to towel-lined counter or to a rack (you want to avoid putting a hot jar on a cold surface, or else the jar might crack.)
Let the jars cool:
As the jars cool, you should hear a popping sound as the vacuum created by the cooling air in the jars pulls the lid down and seals the jars. A properly sealed jar can last in a cool closet out of direct sun for about a year.
If any jars do not seal, store them chilled in the refrigerator. Opened jars should last 1 to 2 months in the refrigerator.
Let sit 24 hours before eating.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 1g||1%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||1%|
|Total Carbohydrate 13g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||14%|
|Total Sugars 5g|
|Vitamin C 46mg||229%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|