Quartering the okra significantly cuts down pickling time in this recipe: The vegetable pickles more quickly because its insides are exposed. Most picklers have their own special way of seasoning the love-it or leave-it vegetable. “Pickled okra had to grow on me,” Kenneth Garrett, a lifelong New Orleans resident and avid pickler, said. Now, he eagerly awaits okra’s growing season, and he makes pickled okra with basil and oregano, all from his garden. He serves it alongside fried chicken or as a snack. Mr. Garrett adds Creole seasoning, but this recipe uses whole peppercorns instead. Feel free to be creative with spices here. This recipe is ready in hours, but you can minimize okra’s characteristic gooeyness by refrigerating the pickles for two weeks before enjoying. Lastly, whenever preserving or canning, even for a “quick” job like this, it’s important to maintain a sterile environment. Wash the jars, lids and rims with hot, soapy water and dry them with clean towels.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 1pound fresh okra
- 4garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 2oregano sprigs
- 2basil sprigs
- 2dried bay leaves
- 1teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- ½teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste
- 2cups white distilled vinegar
- ¼cup granulated sugar
- 2tablespoons kosher salt
Step 1Wash and dry the okra. Trim the tops and cut lengthwise into quarters.
Step 2Wash 2 (16-ounce) wide-mouth jars, lids and rims with hot, soapy water. Dry them with clean towels. In each jar, place 2 garlic cloves, 1 oregano sprig, 1 basil sprig, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds and 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne. Divide the okra spears evenly among the jars.
Step 3Add the vinegar, sugar and salt plus 1 cup water to a medium pot and heat over high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the salt and sugar dissolve completely.
Step 4Remove from the heat and add the liquid to the jars. Screw the lids and rims on tightly. Let the jars cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, then refrigerate until ready to enjoy. Allow at least 4 hours for the seasoning to penetrate the okra. Quick-pickled okra can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. (A longer resting time means more flavor and less goo.)