Friday, July 29, 2011

Pickled Okra Recipe

As per request of Danny Z.

1. Sanitize jars (e.g. dishwasher, boiling water bath, oven, etc.). Widemouth jars (if you can get them) are often handy for packing pickles.

2. Start a large pot of water boiling to process the pickle jars.

3. Drop 1-2 garlic cloves in the bottom of each sanitized pint jar. Depending on the heat level you like, drop in 1 or more dried chili peppers or a quarter or more of a fresh jalapeno or other hot pepper. If you have them, drop in some spice seeds, not to exceed 2-3 total (e.g. black peppercorn, coriander, etc.). Too many spice seeds result in the unfavorable domination of that taste in your pickle.

4. Clean and trim okra at the top and bottom (3 to 4-inch length is best, but if you want to go for big over-the-top okra that go bottom-to-top in your Bloody Mary, you can bump up to 5 to 6 inch length (if you can find them). You will need to double everything below if you go with the large size because you'll need to use quart jars instead of pint jars. If you want to make a quart of pickles instead of a pint, you will need to double everything here too.)

5. Pack okra into jars. You should be able to get about 8 to 10 of the small/medium ones in the pint jar. I recommend to hold the jar on its side and slide the okra in. About halfway through, you can easily pop smaller okra into the gaps at the bottom, then finish with the larger okra. If you pack all the large okra in first, it's impossible to squeeze the smaller ones through to the bottom gaps.

6. Make brine. Per pint jar okra, bring to a boil 0.5 cup water, 0.5 cup white vinegar, 1.5 teaspoon salt, 0.25 teaspoon spice or mixed spice (tumeric, chili pepper (if you like spicy), etc.). If you will need more brine, make more using those ratios. If after you try this recipe you find you like your pickles a little more sour or more salty, bump up the vinegar/water ratio or the amount of salt accordingly.

7. Using a mason jar funnel or an ordinary funnel, pour the hot brine over the packed okra, leaving 0.25 inch headspace. Tighten the jar lid. Give it a gratifying shake. I re-tighten my lids one more time before they go in the water bath for processing.

8. Process jars. Using a jar lifter (they're only about $10), place the jar in the boiling water such that it is covered by water. Cover with lid to save energy. Set your timer for 10 minutes once the water returns to a boil. Remove from pot. Allow jars to cool. Once cool, the popped top of the jar should remain the in the "down" position when pressed. Allow jars to rest in a cool non-bright place for about 2 weeks before opening. Once opened, refrigerate.

9. If you send me a picture of your pickled okra (double points if it's in your Bloody Mary), I will most certainly (and happily) post it to Facebook.

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