International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Old-fashioned Okra Pickles

Fresh okra

(American, Southern-Soul garden refrigerator pickle)

Image Creative Commons by Pixabay

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If you've ever grown okra, you know how a new batch can pop up overnight, every night in late summer. Keep ahead of the harvest with this quick and easy okra refrigerator pickle for a fresh and crunchy treat that tastes just like Maw Maw's.

The best size for harvesting okra is when they are no bigger than one of your fingers. Anywhere from two to four inches long is best. Any bigger and they start to get woody fast.

Makes about 4 pints

Ingredients

  • Fresh okra, trimmed -- 2 pounds
  • Fresh dill -- 1 bunch
  • Garlic, crushed -- 4 large cloves
  • Water -- 2 cups
  • Vinegar -- 2 cups
  • Kosher salt -- 3 tablespoons
  • Sugar -- 1 tablespoon

Method

  1. Clean four pint canning jars in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Add a sprig of dill and a clove of garlic in bottom of each jar. Pack the okra into each jar, alternating stem up and stem down to pit tightly. Cut larger okra pods to size if needed to fit in the jars. Make sure to leave 1/2 inch space at the top of each jar.
  2. Mix the vinegar, water, salt and sugar to a non-reactive saucepan over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and pour the hot brine over the okra in each jar, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top of each jar. Use a clean skewer or chopstick to remove any air bubbles.
  3. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and seal with lids and rims. Allow the jars to cool completely on the countertop, then store in the refrigerator for at least 1 month to let the okra cure before enjoying. Will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Okra Pickle Variations

  • Boiling water canning: The pickles can be canned  and vacuum-sealed for a longer shelf life using the boiling water process for 15 minutes.
  • Other seasonings: Add a couple slices of hot pepper or a pinch of dried pepper flakes to each jar to give your okra pickles a bit of heat. You can also add a few peppercorns, a bay leaf or two or a spring of fresh thyme or oregano.

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