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I live in sunny South Carolina…the land of red clay, blazing sunshine, smothering humidity, and Rebel flags. There is one plant that absolutely thrives in this environment (despite the Rebel flags): okra. We have an eight foot long double row of it in our garden right now, and here in the first week of September it is giving us okra out of our ears. I love pickled okra, but I don’t know how to can and didn’t feel like learning this week, so I decided to test out a refrigerator pickled okra recipe. You can do it with pickles, so why not with okra? Actually, I didn’t expect it to work because okra is “stiffer” than cucumbers and I didn’t really expect it to soften up, especially since I used some of the okra my mom would have thrown away because it was so big. Surprise of all surprises, I left it in the fridge for three days before tasting it…and it is a-maz-ing. It has such a brilliantly fresh sweet-and-sour taste, the okra is definitely soft enough to eat but still has a nice crunch to it, and it just tastes like summer in a jar. I realize that some of you are pulling out the pumpkin recipes already, but summer’s not gone yet, folks! Not that I’m not excited for pumpkin; in fact, I’ve been testing fall recipes for this blog for a week or so already. You’ll see some next week. 😉
You should definitely give this okra recipe a try. It makes a great side dish or snack (it’s a Fuel Pull for you Trim Healthy Mamas because it has no significant sources of carbs or fats). I would recommend using medium-sized okra instead of huge like I did because the smaller ones are more tender. A good test to tell whether or not okra is too old to use is to try to cut through it. If it feels woody and you hear a crackling sound as you cut (and it will be stiff and difficult to cut), toss it because it’s gone tree-ish (random Lord of the Rings quote…isn’t that awesome?).
I refrigerated my okra for three days before tasting it. It was the perfect softness then. If you’re using smaller okra, one to two days might do it.
You can find this recipe in my cookbook, Necessary Food.
- Medium-sized okra, washed and stems cut off to reveal the inside of the okra (so liquid can get up inside)
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. Truvia or 1 tsp. THM Sweet Blend (or 4 tsp. granulated sugar, for those unconcerned about low-glycemic sweeteners)
- ½ tsp. dill seed
- ½ tsp. dried dill weed (if you can, use a few springs of fresh dill)
- ½ tsp. yellow mustard seed
- Optional: 1-2 peeled garlic cloves
- Stuff okra into a quart-sized glass canning jar (I fit 8 large okra into mine). In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over okra. Fill the jar to within an inch of the top with pure water. Let it set a couple of minutes (the liquid will fill up the inside of the okra, decreasing the liquid level in the jar), then top the jar off with water again. Let your jar of okra set in the fridge for 2-3 days to let the okra soften up and the flavors develop. Enjoy!
- If the water level in your jar goes down as you eat the okra, it might be a good idea to fill the jar back up with one part vinegar to two parts water. This will help keep your okra fresher and juicier. It'll probably be OK as is, but the part of the okra that isn't in liquid won't be as moist, and while I haven't tested this theory, I have my doubts that it will keep as long.
- This refrigerator pickled okra lasts for several weeks in the fridge, although the flavors are most pungent in the first week.
I'm sure you could use apple cider vinegar if that's what you have on hand, but the flavor will be different. I chose white vinegar for the traditional pickling flavor.
If you don't want sweet pickles, feel free to omit the sweetener.