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November 11, 2009

Peter Piper picks a peck of pickled okra

Kate Hart

My best friend makes killer pickled okra with habañeros and/or Thai chilies.But she lives very far away, and we had a ton of okra and peppers ourselves, so I bugged her until she sent me her recipe. My better half put his brewing expertise to work and voila: Spicy pickled okra.

Okra Pickles (hot pack, 4 pints)

3.5 lbs sm okra pods (bigger is ok, too, see below)
1/3 c canning salt (*sub: 1 c canning salt = 1 c + 2 T Morton kosher salt; purists will say it's not an ok substitute, but the chemistry in pickles is very forgiving, and I think it works really well.)
2 teaspoons dill seed
3 c water
3 c vinegar
4 cloves garlic (as desired)
hot ass peppers

"Trim okra (try not to cut the pods, but if a couple get poked, it's ok). Boil salt, dill, water and vinegar. Pack okra into hot jars with 1/4" headspace. Distribute garlic and peppers as desired. Ladle hot liquid over okra with 1/4" headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 min in BWB.

I did three pints and one quart (I think), b/c some of the okra I had were too long for the pint jars. The vinegar/water/salt ratio is what's important for the preserving process, so I'm pretty sure I just whipped up some extra liquid to get the quart jar to full size (that was cool, since you can't make adjustments on the fly like that with jams et al). I found that the headspace was really important in this one, since I'm pretty sure some of the liquid gets sucked into the okra, so if you start short on headspace, it ends up definitely too short by the time it's all done with. I remember reprocessing at least one of the jars.

Also, if you have both wide and regular neck jars, I strongly recommend using the regular neck jars for this kind of thing. It has no inherent benefit for the pickled okra, but it also doesn't impede access, and since having wide mouth jars does matter on other recipes, I've found pickles to be a great way to use up the reg necks. Just a thought.

Also also wik: my understanding of the lay of the preserving land is that if you're going to store something for more than about a month, it's highly advised to use a proper BWB, rather than using the "upside down hot jar" suction method. I'm not sure what your plans are, but I thought I'd mention it."


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