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 transcendently 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.
Makes 4 (1-pint/500 ml) jars
3 cups/720 ml apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons pickling salt
4 lemon slices
4 tablespoons Mixed Pickling Spice, divided
2 pounds/910 g okra, washed and trimmed
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Prepare a boiling water bath and 4 regular-mouth 1-pint/500 ml jars according to the process. Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and simmer over very low heat.
Combine the vinegar, 3 cups/720 ml water, and pickling salt in a pot and bring the brine to a boil.
Meanwhile, put a lemon slice and 1 tablespoon pickling spice in 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. Nestle 1 garlic clove among the okra in each jar.
Slowly pour the hot brine over the okra in each jar, leaving 1/2 inch/12 mm headspace. Gently tap the jars on a towel-lined countertop to help loosen any bubbles before using a wooden chopstick to dislodge any remaining bubbles. Check the headspace again and add more brine if necessary.
Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Food in Jars © 2012 by Marisa McClellan, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.