Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pickled Okra-Ooo-la-la

 I mentioned that we've been having some new organic farming adventures! I'm always the one who says, "Try something new"...but I have to confess...okra was not high on my list.  I never ate it growing up in my family. We never raised it in any of our many giant and fruitful gardens.  Dad didn't seem to think we needed it and mom didn't like it.  So...there it is.  So, when we were handed some in a beautiful shining paper bag...I decided I needed to say, " I dare say I need to post what we did with the okra that we gathered from Love Grows Farms!" Because...I've been eating it like crazy! Krista, the greenhouse manager and farming sweetheart gathered these for me.  This is what she showed me.   First, when harvesting okra, you want to gather it when it is still very young and tender.  The seeds should not get big like this one (below). In fact, she said this one will be fed to the goats.

Then she gave us some okra to play with. My boys ate it raw right from the bag! They thought it was awesome! Of course,  my husband Ace said, "they have also been out in the sun for a long time."  Ace, who is normally a veggie guy... not impressed by okra. He may never be impressed. Just like me and parsnips who may never find a common ground. Or  Tara and raisins (she calls them "the Devil")...ya know. Everyone has an opinion. I'm okay with that.  

 However...I think I have found my new favorite okra-song!

PicKleD OkRa! 
Krista at the farm said, "okay, it's pretty good pickled if you want to try it. "
 Who am I to *not* be at least  willing  to try it! Just once. So...I did.

I followed the recipe below, but instead of processing them in the heat (which seems to draw out the slime texture), I simply made the brine, added the okra, tightened the lids and then put in the fridge.  7-10 days later, we had the most delightful little garlic "niblets" of okra I've ever had! However, should you need to actually keep them on the shelf at room temperature, you'll need to follow the directions for processing the jars. 

Gourmet  | November 2003; originally published November 1982

  • 1 pound okra (3 1/2 to 4 inches long)

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 3 cups cider vinegar (24 fluid ounces)

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dill seeds

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • Special equipment: 6 (1/2-pt) canning jars with screw bands and lids; an instant-read or candy thermometer.


    Sterilize jars and lids:
    Wash jars, screw bands, and lids in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Dry screw bands.
    Put jars on a rack in a boiling-water canner or a deep 8- to 10-quart pot and add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered with lid, and boil 10 minutes. Heat lids in water to cover in a small saucepan until thermometer registers 180°F (do not let boil). Keep jars and lids submerged in hot water, covered, until ready to use.
    Make pickled okra:
    Drain jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel 1 minute. Tightly pack jars with okra, stem ends up, then put 1 garlic clove in each jar.
    Bring remaining ingredients to a boil in a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Divide pickling liquid evenly among jars, leaving 1/4-inch space at top, then run a thin knife between okra and jar.
    Seal and process jars:
    Wipe off rims of filled jars with a clean damp kitchen towel, then firmly screw on lids with screw bands.
    Put sealed jars on rack in canner or pot and add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered. Boil pickles, covered, 10 minutes, then transfer jars with tongs to a towel-lined surface to cool. Jars will seal (if you hear a ping, that signals that the vacuum formed at the top has made the lid concave).
    After jars have cooled 12 to 24 hours, press center of each lid to check that it's concave, then remove screw band and try to lift lid with your fingertips. If you can't, the lid has a good seal.
    Let pickled okra stand in jars at least 1 day for flavors to develop.

    There you go! Pickled Okra!


    Salsa Mama said...

    Oh, man! Pickled okra is one of my FAVorite foods!! Yummmmmm...

    Anonymous said...

    My children would rather eat these kind of pickles than regular dill pickles. They love them!

    I want to you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog today and every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com