During my early canning days, I spent a week in Austin, Texas. It was there that I had the chance to try the most delectable fried okra I’d ever encountered. It transformed my opinion of this sometimes texturally-challenging vegetable and sent me running to the kitchen to try it as a pickle. It was transcendentally good. Pickling manages to eradicate the interior slime and just leaves you with a crunchy, brine-filled pickle. It’s a dream eaten alongside a plate of spicy food.
1Prepare a boiling water bath and 4 regular mouth pint jars. Place lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and simmer over very low heat.
2Combine vinegar, 3 cups water, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.
3Put a slice of lemon and a tablespoon of pickling spice into the bottom of each sterilized jar. Then pack the okra in, first laying them in so that the points are up. Then insert another layer with the points down, so that they interlock. Poke a clove of garlic in among the okra.
4Slowly pour the hot brine over the okra leaving 1/2 inch headspace. After all the jars are full, use a wooden chopstick to work the air bubbles out of the jars. Check the headspace again and add more brine if necessary.
5Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes).
6Let these pickles cure for at least a week before eating.
Note: You’ll note that this recipe calls for you to make more brine than many of the other similarly scaled recipes. Because okra pods are hollow, they will absorb a great deal of the brine. When you’ve finished filling and bubbling all the jars, they will invariably require topping off. What’s more, the brine level will drop radically after you remove the jars from the canner: do not be alarmed. It has simply migrated inside the okra pods. There is no need to remove the lids to top off the liquid; as long as the seal is good, they are safe to store and eat.
Mrs. Wages Safety notes:
For canning safety, always consider your local altitude when calculating accurate processing times. Read this USDA guide for proper food safety and canning processing guidelines or consult the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s Guide 1 Principles of Home Canning. Also, prepare and process home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer’s instructions for sterilized jars. Keep jars hot.
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