Dispatches From Whitcomb Street

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pickled okra

We don’t see a lot of okra in Colorado. I don’t know how the Indian markets are getting it year-round—I usually only see good-looking pods for a week or two in late summer, lovingly trucked in from the Western Slope. 

I know okra is polarizing. I’m a lover—I like it fried and crisp, I like it cooked for maximum ooze. And I madly, deeply, truly love it pickled.

But even okra haters like pickled okra. No slime. Crisp, light zing. Fun texture contrast between the still-crisp pod and explosive seeds. There is really no better garnish for a Bloody Mary, or a finer side for a hamburger. One okra pickle to rule them all.

Choose small, very fresh okra pods for pickles; you want smooth-skinned, unblemished pods for the crispest product. Choose pods that will fit vertically into a wide-mouth pint jar without bending. 

Both green and purple okra pickle well. Purple okra tints the brine to an intense brick color, which is fine by me. Wash the okra carefully, being sure not to bruise or nick it, and trim off any long stems.

NOTE: Anywhere you nick the surface of the okra pod is a place it will ooze mucilage. Keep the pods in good condition to minimize sliminess.

Depending on the size and shape of your okra pods, expect to fill a pint jar with each 1/2 pound.

Prepare a bowl of spices for each pint jar: I like 1/4 teaspoon each of fennel, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Black peppercorns are good here, too—and dill is classic, of course. 

Prepare your brine: For each pint jar, bring 1/3 cup water and 2/3 cup white vinegar (5% acidity) to a boil. Add two teaspoons of sugar and two teaspoons of salt. 

Sterilize your jars and rings by boiling for ten minutes. Put lids in hot (not boiling water).

Pack your hot jars quickly with spices and okra pods, filling them densely without mashing or crushing the okra. Top with boiling brine to within 1/4” of the top; wipe rims and sides, seat lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Put jars that don’t seal in the fridge.

Wait a couple days, then break out the horseradish, vodka, and tomato juice. 

  1. whitcombstreet posted this

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