Thursday, August 11, 2011

Canning Okra Pickles


Ahhhh okra, the fruit of the South!

Not far from where we live in S.C. there's even a small town that holds a festival each year honoring this vegetable with its Annual Irmo Okra Strut. We love our okry south of the Mason Dixon Line (if you're a true Southerner, that's how you say it, Oak-ree!). Of course, the BEST way to eat okra is fresh out of the garden, sliced and rolled in cornmeal and fried (another Southern favorite, FRIED... fried anything!)

I recently scored a half bushel basket of okra from the farmers market and enjoyed a "mess" of fried okra (in the South, a "mess" of anything is enough for a meal for however many people you need to feed... it's a Southern measure of volume, a "mess") I remember when I was growing up sometimes Daddy would pick okra and if there wasn't enough for a "mess" for supper, Mama would slice up some green tomatoes and add to the okra so there WOULD be enough for a "mess." Yummy!!! Okra and green tomatoes, chopped, rolled in cornmeal, and fried in Mama's well-seasoned cast-iron frying pan... and served alongside a fresh sliced ripe tomato... Mmmmm... makes you wanna slap your grandma!

With my plethora of okra, I thought I'd make another Southern favorite... okra pickles... here's what I did...


I chose the smallest okra pods for my pickles, washed them and sliced the stem ends off (taking care not to slice too deep, don't want to open the seed end and let out all the innards)


I prepared my pint jars by sterilizing them in a pan of water set on two stove eyes, heating them to boiling.


I simmered my lids and rings, keeping them hot until I was ready for them.


In a large stainless steel saucepan, I combined 3 cups of water


3 cups white vinegar




And 2 teaspoons dried dill weed (you could use dill seed or fresh dill if you want, I happened to have dill weed on hand)


I brought the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt. I reduced the heat and kept the mixture hot until I was ready to use it.

Meanwhile...


I packed the okra pods into the hot jars to within a generous half inch of the top of the jar.


I added to each jar... one clove of garlic and half a small hot red pepper (I used chili peppers)... stems removed, halved lengthwise and seeded (and may I UNDERLINE the importance of wearing rubber gloves while cutting or seeding hot peppers!!! Even if you think "Hey I only need two or three, I'll just do them without fooling with getting the gloves out... ask me how I know!... I had burny hands all afternoon!)


Ladle the hot pickling liquid into the jar to cover okra, leaving half inch headspace. Remove air bubbles (a butter knife run down the inside of the jar between the okra and the jar will work nicely) and adjust headspace if necessary by adding more pickling liquid.


I wiped the rims, centered the lids onto the jars and screwed the bands down to a fingertip tightness.

I processed the jars in a boiling water bath (place jars in the canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water, bring to a boil) processing them for 15 minutes.

After the processing, I removed the jars using my jar lifter (a handy dandy gadget that saves hands!) and placed them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING! of each successfully sealed jar!


Okry Pickles!!! Makes a delicious addition to a relish tray... and a nice change from your average dill pickle!














9 comments:

  1. Not into okra pickles but I love fried okra! I have been to Irmo and we eat at Grouchos when we can. Love love love

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  2. i have never pickled anything before and am making these for the first time tonight...do i need to let them sit on the shelf any length of time or can you start eating them as soon as they cool?

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    Replies
    1. You can eat them right away if you want... they do get better with age. ~~Granny

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  3. I was always taught I couldn't water bath okra, but I guess the pickling makes the difference. Thanks, I wondered what was wrong with my pickled okra...LOL

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  4. You can water bath anything pickled. It's all about acid content. :)

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  5. Hey Granny, Yesterday was my very first time to pickle okra. I did two batches and they shrunk some but not a lot. Kind of like yours in your picture. Today I did two more batches and BOY DID THEY SHRINK. What causes Okra to shrink so much. What could I have done differently today to cause them to shrink more than the day before? Is there a special trick to pickling okra to help keep them from shrinking so much? I had packed the jars as tight and full as possible. What do you do to keep them from shrinking so much?
    I have never in my life eaten pickled okra but a friend has been giving me a lot lately and my freezer is full so I had to do something else with them. Thanks

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  6. I know you dont have to pressure can pickled okra, but can you? I live in California where its continuously HOT..I purchased a Power Pressure Cooker/Canner 10 qt size and realized it dosent put off alot of heat. Thinking of prosessing for 10 min under pressure, but dont want to loose crispyness..what do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I know you dont have to pressure can pickled okra, but can you? I live in California where its continuously HOT..I purchased a Power Pressure Cooker/Canner 10 qt size and realized it dosent put off alot of heat. Thinking of prosessing for 10 min under pressure, but dont want to loose crispyness..what do you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could... but even just bringing up to pressure and letting it drop to zero would cook the okra more than you might want. Making them softer. ~~Granny

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