How to Make Pickled Okra
Okra is a staple southern United States food that is very common in Cajun, Creole and Southern cooking. It is a summer vegetable and therefore it is nice to pickle them to enjoy in the winter. Pickling okra is very similar to pickling in general, though some ingredients may be added.
Here are the ingredients in making pickled okra:
Fresh Okra Pods Two to three inches of fresh and crispy okras are the best. Do not use overripe, soft or wilted okras. It takes about 1 pound of okra to fill a 1-pint jar.
Vinegar 5 percent apple cider works best as a pickling solution. For 3 ½ pounds of okra, you need a pint of this vinegar.
Pickling or Canning Salt 1/3 cup
Garlic Cloves One garlic clove is to be placed at the top of each jar.
Water For 3 ½ pounds of okra, you need a quart of water
Dill seed (optional) Four teaspoons
Small Chili Peppers (optional) Prepare at least 6 small chili peppers
Wash the okras in plain cold water and drain. Then, cut about ¼ inch off both ends of the vegetable. Meanwhile, sterilize the jars and their lids. You can do this if you have a dishwasher that has a sanitize cycle. Also, you can do this while preparing the ingredients so it is done when you’re ready to pour in the ingredients into the jar. Remember to rinse well to get rid of any remaining soap. You can sterilize the lids separately in a pan with boiling water. Boil for 10-15 minutes. Regardless of the size of the jar, pack it firmly with okras. Remember to leave a ½ inch headspace in the jar. Next, put a single peeled garlic clove on top of each jar.
Mix the chili peppers, salt, water, vinegar and dill seed in a large pan and boil. Remember; DO NOT use a metal pan. The acid in the vinegar reacts with the metal and will make your solution cloudy. You can use instead a Teflon-coated or any coated metal pan but make sure that there are no breaks in the coating.
When the solution boils, it is now ready. Pour the solution into the jar filled with okra but leave about ¼ to ½ inch for headspace. You may now notice that the solution sort of bubbles as it fills the cavities inside the okras. Wait for several minutes until the solution fills the cavities up then add more pickling solution. When you are done pouring the solution, put the lid and place a tightening ring around it.
Prepare your canner. Put the filled jars into the canner and pour water until it covers 2 inches of them. Boil for 10-15 minutes. You have to be mindful of your altitude and the size of your jars though, so you have to adjust. The higher your altitude is, the longer you are going to boil the jars. Boiling is a very important part of the process as this makes the pickle last long and prevents you from getting sick of food poisoning. A properly sterilized pickle may last ages.
When you’re done boiling, put the jars into a draft-free area and let them cool. This process may take up to 24 hours. Once they are cool, you can check if the jars are properly sealed. You can do this by pressing on the center of the lid. If the center makes a popping sound and pops up and down, it is not sealed properly. You can still enjoy the pickles though, if you put it into the refrigerator immediately. Your pickled okra is best eaten after 2-3 days, after all the ingredients have seeped in.
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