The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Spicy Pickled Okra

July 25th, 2009 · 6 Comments · Posted in garden, Recipes

Pickling okra is a snap

Pickling okra is a snap

I planted my usual long row of Clemson Spineless okra this year fully expecting they’d be giants by now. They’re still midgets because of this weird El Nino weather we’ve been having–cool, lots of rain, less sun–but that hasn’t stopped them from making seed pods like crazy. You might be shocked how quickly the pods grow. Like overnight. We are harvesting sometimes twice a day.

Besides being prolific and great lovers of heat and humidity, okra are also beautiful. Related to the hibiscus, they produce a pristine yellow flower that opens during the day and closes during the night. What a great bonus to the pods, which we eagerly devour.

If you are afraid of okra goo, pickling is a perfect solution. We like ours on the spicy side. What I’ve discovered is that pickling okra is not something you need to put off to the end of the season. You don’t even need to wait until you have a huge quantity of okra. It can easily be done in small batches, which solves the problem of what to do with just a wee amount of okra if you’ve gotten tired of frying them or eating them smothered. Just save the okra pods in a bowl on the kitchen counter until you’ve collected enough to fill a pickling jar.

To be perfectly safe, you’ll want to use a clean, sterilized canning jar for this. Along with the okra, you’ll be stuffing the jar with garlic cloves and hot peppers and pickling spices according to this recipe. (Don’t be afraid to adjust the recipe according to how much okra you have.) Then you bring your brine to a boil on the stove. If you have one, use your canning funnel to pour the brine over the okra until it comes up to within 1/4 inch of the top of the jar. Seal the jar using a new cap, then process in boiling water. Processing kills any microbes that might lurk in the jar, as well as sealing the lid. From here, your jar of pickled okra can sit on a pantry shelf until you are ready to serve it.

One thing I’ve discovered is that these pickled okra really benefit from curing for at least a month. Longer is better, as they will continue to pick up heat from the hot peppers as well as flavor from the pickling spices.

Now you have no excuse not to enjoy your homegrown okra. But heck, if you aren’t growing your own, you no longer have an excuse not to buy some at the farmers market.

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