Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Pickled Okra

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Pickled Okra, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

Isn’t okra such a fun vegetable? That snappy pod and all those white seeds that collapse in your mouth when you bite down on them. And I love the fibrous texture of the pod itself and that characteristic sliminess. Wow, I guess all that actually sounds kind of gross on paper – us okra lovers know better though.

Fried okra. Amazing. Stewed okra. Amazing. Pickled okra. Amazing!!!

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I know some people get weirded out by the slimy “goo” texture cooked okra often results in. I can see why. This usually happens a lot when okra is stewed. You can actually minimize the slime factor by leaving it whole and only quickly cooking it, flash frying it or even cutting it lengthwise and grilling it. Of course, pickling happens to be the best way to enjoy okra without the slime. It’s SO good. Please try it. It couldn’t be easier to do.

Right now there are heaps of okra everywhere. I picked up a giant bag of it at Clemon’s produce market the other day with the intention of pickling some so I could have it around for snacking.

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My pickling brine was nothing fancy. I just used garlic, salt, sugar and horseradish and jalepeño pepper to spice things up a bit. You can actually use more pepper than you’d think cause the vinegar really cuts the fire. I packed them in there pretty good cause once the liquid is added, they like to float around.

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We ate a few after just 48 hours and they were good, but by day 3, 4 and 5, they were fantastic. Wait it out…it’s worth it. And they only get better after that.

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Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes! Feel free to leave out the jalepeño pepper if you are sensitive to heat. Likewise, add in additional jalepeño or other hot peppers of you really want to spice it up! This recipe makes enough brine for large pickle jar full of okra. They’ll be good after 48 hours, but I really recommend waiting it out at least 4 days – they really do get better every day.

You need:

  • As many okra as you can pack/stack into the jar (refer to image)
  • 1-2 jalepeño peppers sliced, seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (or less if you don’t want them sweet)
  • 1 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon horseradish
  • 3 garlic cloves smashed and roughly cut
  • Splash of water (like 4 tablespoons)

Directions

  1. Peel garlic cloves and smash with side of your knife and roughly chop. Wash okra. Wash and thinly slice jalepeño pepper, discarding seeds and core. Pack okra and pepper slices into jar lengthwise.
  2. Add vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt and water to pot and bring to a nice simmer and then immediately turn off heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Pour over veggies in jar and add horseradish. Tighten lid and give a few firm shakes.
  3. Allow to reach room temp before placing in the fridge. Give them 3-4 days of pickling before eating.

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30 Comments

  1. Posted August 3, 2010 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    Aunt Cindi gave me some okra from her garden. I didn’t know what to do with it so I threw it in my freezer for the time being. Guess I’m going to be pickling them now!

  2. Posted August 3, 2010 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    You are right, there are heaps of okra out now. That actually sounds really good.

  3. Posted August 3, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    I’ve never had pickled okra, but this sounds delicious! I just made my own pickles for the first time, so I’m ready to branch out to other vegetable matter! ;)

  4. Posted August 3, 2010 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    I had a bad fried okra experience the last time I was in Atlanta – slime central! But I am intrigued by pickling the little devils, especially if it minimizes the slime factor. Sounds pretty tasty!

  5. gabi
    Posted August 4, 2010 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    Julie – I know what you mean. I made pickles for the first time last year, and it’s like once you start pickling and realize how easy it, you start really thinking about all the possibilities. Do it up!

    Kara – NO slime here! I promise :)

  6. Posted August 5, 2010 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    I’ve never tried pickling before, but I’m definitely tempted to do so after seeing this.

    Also, I really love your blog! Looking forward to your next post.

  7. BRITTANY
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    is the horseradish a must in this recipe??

  8. gabi
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    Not at all, Aly. Skip it!

  9. Posted August 5, 2010 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

    so simple, and so beautiful! I cant wait to try this! I might do a jar of green beans while Im at it!

  10. Posted August 5, 2010 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    I can’t believe it! I just made some pickled okra too! Great minds…
    Yours looks great. Lovely photos!

  11. Posted August 11, 2010 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    Hey I made a curried pickled okra that turned out to be excellent, and goes great as a side with my Indian dinners.
    Do I see hot water bathing in your future?

  12. Posted August 12, 2010 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    <3

  13. Posted August 15, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    I just came across your site through The Merry Gourmet and I love it!

    This particular post is fantastic because I love okra and have found so few people who share the sentiments.

  14. Allison
    Posted September 1, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    I was so excited to try this, but I just took it out after 3 days of sitting in the fridge to try them and they are so slimey! The pickling liquid is thick, syrupy and slimey. What went wrong :( so sad.

  15. gabi
    Posted September 1, 2010 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    Oh no! I am really sorry to hear that! And I’m also really confused…the thing that troubles me the most is that you say the brine was syrupy? And thick?! Now, THAT is weird. I’ve used this exact recipe several times and use an almost identical brine for making cucumbers – great results every time.

    I’m trying to think of what could have gone wrong…Let’s see…
    Did you cut the okra exposing the inside? Did you accidentally use a horseradish sauce (like a prepared one with something else in it)? Did you add the splash of water suggested in the recipe? Did you make sure to boil the brine and was your sugar fully dissolved? Maybe you added too much sugar? Did you make sure all your okra was fully submerged in the brine before putting in the fridge to pickle?

    Just a few things I can think of that could have caused this. These things happen, but what a giant bummer!

    As for the okra being slimy, it should not have been either :( There might have been the slightest of slime in the occasional piece (I’ve had that before with large okra), but it certainly should not have been marked by slime.

    Please let me know if you figure it out!

  16. Posted September 2, 2010 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    I finally made them and they were great. 2 batches- one with horseradish and one without. I think I liked them both equally.

    You said you used a similar brine for pickles? What did you change? I need a quick pickle brine.. All the recipes I’ve found are for some large-scale pickling/canning, and seem way more involved than I want to get. I liked the okra pickles because they were so easy and quick.

  17. gabi
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    Awesome! Yea, a did a quick pickling recipe for cucumbers a while back. http://honestfare.com/24-hour-pickles-2/
    Super easy!

  18. Renee Flanagan
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    I made the okra pickles using white vinegar, water bath processed 15 minutes, allowed to pickle one month. But they are too vinegary. Can I add something to the jar to reduce this acidity? Or, can I dilute the vinegar with more water to reduce the acidity?

  19. gabi
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    Hi Renee – I’ve actually never done a water bath when pickling veggies because I’ve not intended on long term storage. We just eat them up within a week or two! But, as far as I know, if you intend to really preserve your okra for a longer period of time, you’ll need at least a 50/50 vinegar to water ratio to prevent any bacteria from growing. If the taste is too vinegary now, I’d go ahead and add a touch of water and some salt (I find that salt really helps). Just be careful with adding TOO much water because that might cause some slime when you’re dealing with okra. What else is in your brine though?

  20. Renee Flanagan
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for your quick response. I include fresh dill, fresh garlic, mustard seed and kosher salt.

  21. Posted September 12, 2010 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    I LOVE OKRA!!

    But then I’m from Alabama – I think it’s a requirment!!

    OK, but I ONLY love FRIED okra. Have been afraid to try the pickles. I may HAVE to now I’ve seen this lovely recipe. I got a myspace friend addicted to the pickled okra from Piggly Wiggly.

    HAD to tell you, I tried for 20 years to make vegetable soup like my Mother canned every year. Could NOT get it exactly RIGHT. Bugged the devil out of me! Then I was making soup for a sick friend who I knew loved okra, well, turned out OKRA was what my Mother (evidentely) sneaked into her canned vegetable soup that make it taste unforgetable!! BUT, she MUST have cooked it so much we could not tell there was boiled okra in it, cause NONE of us would touch boiled okra!!

    Isn’t that crazy?

    Guess just goes to show you it IS all in our heads!

  22. gabi
    Posted September 12, 2010 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

    Yea, I agree that fried okra is probably the best, but pickling it might be a close second. I love okra in soups too – cooking it down in a stew like that actually helps dissolve the sliminess!

  23. Carina
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    What do you do with all of the left-over pickle brine once the pickles are consumed? My boyfriend will drink it straight, but I was wondering if it could be re-used to pickle other vegetables.
    I’ve made several batches of pickles using your 24 hour pickle recipe, and they’ve been fantastic. May attempt okra soon, as the boyfriend is mad for it, but I won’t touch it in its natural state. Perhaps a pickle bath will do it good.

  24. gabi
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    Hello Carina,
    Glad you’re having such success with the pickles!! I actually haven’t tried reusing the brine, but that’s an interesting question. I’m not sure if it would work (not as quickly anyway) since it’s not going to be added hot like the first time around. Give it a go though. OR, use the pickle juice + slice of pickle to make yourself a nice pickle martini!

  25. Lisa
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    I was just curious, is it possible to can these (using a mason jar, hot lids, etc), as opposed to placing them in the refrigerator? Any timely input would be appreciated, as I have okra I’d like to use soon.

  26. gabi
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    Lisa,
    Good question. Hm, I don’t see why not. They should hold up just fine if you use a proper canning method and store at room temp like other canned goods. I’m not certain of how this would affect the texture of the okra because I’ve never done it this way. I’d do a batch to store in the cupboard and another for the refrigerator so you can at least compare your results!

  27. Gayle
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    GABI ,Do you think that maybe # 14 Allison is cutting the stem to short ( I have done that and the okra gets slimy

  28. gabi
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

    Hi Gayle,
    Maybe so…I had no idea that cutting the stem too short causes more slime. Thank you for that tip!

  29. Ruby
    Posted September 15, 2013 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    I finally collected enough okra to pickle. I discovered that some of my okra has gotten soft and a darker color while sitting in the frig. Can I still use these okra to pickle? Thanks

  30. gabi
    Posted September 16, 2013 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Hello Ruby,
    Yes, okra does get dark spots rather quickly once picked. Of course, the greener the prettier when pickled, but I’d feel okay using the ones with the least dark spots as long as they are not soft or slimy dark spots. That’s what I do when I cook okra because there are often a few bruised ones. Good luck with it!

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