Today has been a busy day! Between cleaning house (yuck), maintaining the garden, dehydrating apples, and finally getting around to canning, I am just now sitting down!
The garden is doing fantastic! Today we officially pulled our first red tomatoes in addition to 3 jalapeños, 3 bell peppers, 2 banana peppers, a number of green beans, and some more cucumbers and okra! Since we are quickly accumulating okra, it was time to do something before they start going bad. After last year’s abundance of okra (which we fried, pickled, and froze) we decided to plant 8 times as many okra (aka we realized how much we love it!). With that being said, today’s task was pickled okra. There are a number of variations of pickled okra, but this (below) is what we found that we like the most.
Oh, before we get going – let’s backtrack to those Drunken Cherries for a second. They barely made it the 24 hour waiting period before we popped open a jar of bourbon cherries. I am not a huge fan of Bourbon but boy were these delicious! We used 1 tbsp of bourbon per jar – they definitely smelled like bourbon but not nearly as potent to the taste – yummy!
Now, lets get back on track – Pickled Okra!
[Yield: (3) Quarts]
Materials: (all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)
- 3 Quart jars (plus flat lids and bands/rings) [Hint: I STRONGLY recommend the use of wide-mouth jars.]
- 1 water bath
- 1 funnel
- 1 jar lifter
- 1 stainless steel ladle
- 1 large stainless steel pot (or dutch oven)
- 1 dish towel (large enough for the jars to cool on)
- 3 lbs fresh okra, washed
- 3 sprigs of dill, washed
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp mustard seed
- 1/4 cup non-iodized salt
- 1 qt apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
*Keep in mind, with this being a pickling recipe, you must maintain the acidity levels but you can always adjust the dry spices/herbs as you desire. For fun, try adding a little dried red pepper flakes to it and make Spicy Pickled Okra!
Quick reference – this recipe can easily be scaled. Assume 1lb of okra per quart jar. I used 2 lbs in making my recipe but for easy numbers, we will stick with 3 lbs. Last year, I only made 1 quart jar just incase I didn’t care for it – spoiler – I loved it!
- Inspect each of your jars for cracks, chips, and/or any other questionable markings before use.
- Place wire rack into bottom of water bath with ‘arms’ up to allow jars to be placed.
- Fill your water bath with enough water to cover each of the jars with 2-3″ of liquid and place on burner to warm jars (simmer but do not boil).
- Trim each okra stem to be close to the pod as possible without rupturing the fruit.
- Then, create 1″ slices around each side of the fruit running lengthwise. (This step is not required but is strongly recommended since it will allow the pickling brine to enter the okra and forcing out the air. This then keeps the okra from floating and will stay covered in brine and not discolor as it ages.)
- In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine apple cider vinegar, water, non-iodized salt, and mustard seed over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat.
- Remove empty jars from water bath by lifting the wire rack and setting the arms on the rim of the water bath. Then, using jar lifter empty and remove the jar from the water.
- Add in 1 garlic clove and 1 dill spear into each jar. Then, carefully pack as many okra into each jar keeping a 1/4in head space. [Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]
- Pour pickling brine over each jar of okra maintaining the 1/4 in headspace.
- Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
- Place flat lid and screw band on jar and finger tighten. [Hint: Place the jar on a towel and using only your fingers, tighten the band until your jar spins on the towel.]
- Once finger tightened, return to warm water bath to avoid thermal shock. [Thermal shock is the cracking of jars from an extreme temperature swing such as putting hot food into a cold jar.] Lower wire rack once full.
- Place lid on canner, return to high heat and bring water to a full rolling boil.
- Once boiling, set timer for 10 minutes [refer to your elevations processing time for correct info].
- After 10 minutes, turn off heat and remove the lid. Wait an additional 5 minutes.
- Once again, lifting wire rack and placing arms on canner rim, use the jar lifter to remove your filled jars and place on a towel in a cool & draft-free location.
- Wait 24 hours before touching the jars. After 24 hours, remove the bands and pick up each jar from the flat lid (this will help ensure that each jar is truly sealed). Once the seal is verified, you may wash the exterior of the jars, dry, label, and store for future use.
Remember: With this being a pickling recipe, it is recommended to wait 4-6 weeks to ensure optimal pickling has been achieved.
[Note: This is a variation of one of Ball’s many pickling okra recipes. ]