July 18, 2009

Pickled okra.

I think okra is pretty fantastic. Did you know it is believed to have originated in the Ethiopian Highlands? Or that it is considered a fruit on the plant but a vegetable once removed? How about that the okra pods bloom into a hibiscus-looking flower?


I have loved okra as long as I can remember. Fried was my favorite when I was a kid, but these days I enjoy it most in its fresher forms. I love it in gumbo and canh chua chay - especially when left as whole pods.
Pickled is good too - which is why we are here today.

Spicy Pickled Okra:

4 pounds young, small to medium okra pods
4 serrano peppers, halved
4 teaspoons mustard seeds
8 sprigs fresh dill
4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 cup kosher salt
4 cups white vinegar
4 cups water

Start by washing the okra and trimming the stem (if needed). Be nice to your okra because it does bruise easily.
In a medium saucepan, bring to boil the vinegar, water and salt.
Then, in each of your sterilized jars, place one halved serrano pepper, one teaspoon mustard seeds, two springs of dill, a clove of garlic, white peppercorns, cumin seeds, corriander seeds, and fennel seeds. Pack the okra in the jars, like so:


By now your vinegar should be boiling, so the remove the pan from heat and pour the mixture into each jar, leaving about a quarter inch of space. Be sure there is no air trapped down in the okra.
Process the jars in a boiling water bath.



Several people have recently asked me about the timeline in which these pickled goods are ready. The answer is that it is flexible. You can eat the okra right away, but to get the maximum benefits of the herb and spices, I think, you should wait two to three weeks. I know - it is hard to be patient.
Make and enjoy. That is all.


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