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Savory Okra Pickles Recipe
by Ruth Mason McElvain - posted 11/18/14

For this recipe, you need six very clean wide-mouth pint jars, sterilized as directed by manufacturer, 6 lids and 6 bands separated into a shallow pot of boiling hot water.

Ingredients

2-plus pounds of freshly picked, washed whole okra no more than 3 inches long, tops trimmed close

3 cups white vinegar

3 cups water

¼ cup pickling, kosher or sea salt

1 heaping tablespoon sugar

1 large lemon in 6 slices

6 peeled cloves of fresh garlic

6 grape, scuppernong, or cherry leaves

Spices per jar:

¼ teaspoon each of celery and dill seeds, black peppercorns, and red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon mustard seed

Directions

Stir first five ingredients together in a pot until dissolved; bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.

Remove one jar at a time from the canner, pouring any water in it back into the pot, setting jar on a clean, folded towel. Into the bottom of each jar, put a lemon slice, garlic clove, a leaf, and the spices as specified. Pack okra pods into the jar, alternating upside down and right side up to maximize jar space, with a little less than an inch of jar space left above the packed okra. Using a canning funnel, pour hot brine into jar leaving ¼ inch headspace, running a knife around the inside edges to release bubbles and topping off brine to ¼ inch headspace should it drop. Wipe off jar rim with a clean towel dipped in hot water, retrieve a lid from hot water and place on jar; tighten on a band to just snug, and put jar back into canner. Repeat until all jars are filled. Add boiling water to cover jars 1 inch or dip out water until they’re covered 1 inch. Keep at a low boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars onto to a towel away from any drafts where the popping of lids sealing on the jars will sound as they cool. When completely cool, lids should not give or bounce when pressed. Label contents and date. Will keep for months on pantry shelves. Chill overnight before eating.


As my okra plants may give enough fruit for just a jar at a time, I often process one jar alone: Easy! Pack ‘em, season ‘em, process ‘em in a small pot on the back burner while I surf on my nearby computer!

From Carolina Gardener Issue IX Volume XXVI. Photo courtesy of Ruth Mason McElvain.

 


Ruth Mason McElvain, retired English teacher, blogger, gardener and writer, lives in upstate SC, blissfully repatriated to her native South after 40 years in California.