Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pickling Okra (I Promise it is NOT Slimy)

A few weeks ago I wanted to go hit up a vacant lot near my house with my daughters to pick some Orak that was growing there wild. I figured it had about a week to go, 3 days later I drive by and all the plants are gone. I was pretty disappointed the whole thing was just mowed over to clear the brush, I had a itch I needed to scratch. A short time later after my biweekly Costco run I decided to stop by the Visalia Farmers Market to take a look around. Okra was a dollar a pound so I loaded up, picking up some fresh dill on my way out.

There are a million variations to pickle recipes and you can add just about what ever you want as long as the acidic brine is right. The Ingredients I used were:
Fresh Dill
Red Chinese Dried Peppers
Morton's Pickling Salt
White Vinegar
And of course Okra

The ratio I used for the brine was around 4 cups water to 2 cups White Vinegar with a 1/4 cup salt. You don't have to be exact, you can also go 2 cups water to one cup Vinegar and 2 Tbsp Pickling salt. If you use Kosher salt you need to use some more and it will take longer to dissolve. I just heat the brine in a pot until the salt all dissolves,  Some people seem to like adding the salt directly to the jars to keep it even. I did notice in a past batch of Pickles that my last jar seemed a little saltier than my first, the salt is heavy and sinks so give it a quick stir to avoid it settling. One thing that is important is to not use table salt, iodized salt can cause off flavors, weird color change and should just be avoided.

I used the raw pack method for this job adding a large clove of garlic, 2 peppers, a pinch of peppercorns followed by packing in the Okra in my nice clean jars as tightly as I could making sure to have room for a little head space. I added the brine and gave them a shake and a poke to make sure there were no big air bubbles hiding in there, gave the rim a wipe with a clean moist paper towel an hand tightened the warmed jar tops.    
Once they were all hand tightened I dipped them in my boiling water bath for 20 minutes to process, I did them a little longer than I would do Dill Cucumber Pickles because I wanted the stems to be tender enough to eat. They can get a bit woody, especially in Okra a little later in the season.  My kids destroyed these things, we also gave a jar away to a friend and her family seems to be enjoying them. What is funny is she posted a picture of the jar on Facebook writing about how yummy they were and a surprising amount of people said "Yuck, slimy". I can not say this enough, they are not slimy, give Okra a chance. The pods are tender, the seeds give a nice pop when you chew them and there is no slime. If you like dill pickles you will like the flavor of Dill Okra Pickles, it is a good way to introduce new veggies to people.  

Thanks for reading,

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