Holle loves to cook. She creates a lot of delicious recipes and enjoys sharing them.
I grew so much okra in my container garden this year, and I had to come up with ways to use it; I've frozen sliced okra for winter soups. I've given okra away to family and friends. We've been eating fried okra, roasted okra, and okra and tomatoes for weeks now—and my okra is still putting on pods! We never let food go to waste, so I decided to try my hand at pickled okra.
Making My Own Recipe
I found lots of recipes for pickled okra, and I tried several. I enlisted my best friend, a pickled okra connoisseur, to be my taste tester. She said the first batch didn't have enough vinegar. The second batch, according to her, had too much vinegar. The third batch didn't have much flavor. Finally, I decided to come up with my own recipe—and she proclaimed that batch to be perfect! Both recipes below are easy to make and are very delicious.
Recipe 1: Old-Fashioned Southern Pickled Okra
You'll need one wide-mouth glass jar with a lid for this recipe.
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 pint small okra pods
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons plain salt
- Wash the jar and lid well. Dry.
- Into the bottom of each jar, add dill weed, mustard seeds, onion powder, garlic, black peppercorns, and red pepper flakes.
- Fill the jar with okra. Pack tightly.
- In a small pot, mix together vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to boil, making sure sugar and salt dissolve completely.
- Pour hot liquid over okra. Tighten lid. Allow to cool. Store in refrigerator.
Recipe 2: Sweet and Spicy Okra Pickles
You'll need one wide-mouth glass pint jar and lid to make this recipe.
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 2 jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise, with seeds
- 1 pint small okra pods, rinsed and dried
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon plain salt
- Wash jar and lid. Dry.
- Add garlic, cinnamon, cloves, red pepper flakes, dried onion, and jalapeño peppers in the bottom of the jar.
- Firmly pack okra pods in the jar.
- Bring apple cider vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, and salt to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Pour hot liquid over pods.
- Tighten the lid and allow the jar to cool. Refrigerate.
How I Grew to Love Okra
I hated okra as a kid. My brother hated it, too. Because of this, my mom never cooked it. She loved pickled okra, though, so she bought it frequently. I wouldn't even try it.
As a young adult, I was married to a cattle farmer, and the family had a huge vegetable garden every year. They grew lots of okra, and I learned to love it. At first, I only loved the batter-fried version.
One day for lunch, my mother-in-law roasted some sliced okra in bacon grease. The ex and I were eating with her, and I felt obligated to taste the roasted okra. It was delicious! After a couple more years, I started liking sliced okra in soups and stews. Only recently did I acquire a taste for pickled okra.
Each of these recipes is for a single pint jar, but it's super easy to multiply the amounts to make several jars. I like to use apple cider vinegar, but it's fine to use white. As for salt, use plain salt or pickling salt—not iodized salt. Also, these pickles need to be stored in the refrigerator because I don't process them in a hot water bath. They don't last long enough for me to go into that much trouble!
After you pour the pickling solution over the okra, tighten the jar lid and turn the jar upside down for a couple of hours. This helps distribute the seasonings and ensures that the okra on the very top gets a good flavor. It's best to allow the pickled okra to sit for a few days in the fridge in order for them to pickle. In fact, they're even better if you can wait for 10 days to two weeks.
One thing I learned quickly was to use young, tender pods. I use pods that are between one and two inches long. I think maybe because they're so tender, they absorb more of the pickling solution. I'm not really sure of the reason, but they definitely make better pickled okra than the larger pods do. If you're wondering about the okra variety I use, it's Clemson spineless, although I don't think the variety makes a big difference.