So, uh, what do you do with okra besides gumbo?

I went to visit my parents a week or so ago, and one of their church friends brought them a bunch of okra. My dad insisted that I take some home with me, and I never say no to free, homegrown vegetables.

But, uh, what do you do with okra besides gumbo?

That’s the only dish in my repertoire that has it as an ingredient. I made one batch of gumbo — much to Matt’s delight because he loves my recipe for it — and I still had okra left. I considered chopping it up, sauteing it with olive oil and freezing it to make more gumbo later, but my mom sent me back with so many frozen fruits and vegetables from her garden that I hardly had room in the freezer for anything else.

Hmmm. Seems like a hungry little birdie has been sneaking into the pickled okra. (Psst. It's me.)

So, I decided to pickle it. I love pickled okra, but I’ve never made it myself. I found this recipe online, which had good ratings and gave it a go anyway this weekend.

I only had two mason jars available, so I only made 2/3 of the recipe. The measurements for ingredients lend themselves well to tweaking depending on what you have available, which is nice.

Although the recipe doesn’t say, I have enough experience canning other things to know that I should wait a while before eating them. The longer pickles are allowed to pickle, the tastier they tend to be.

Buuuuut… the jar called my name so sweetly I had to open it today and try one. I was also dying to know if they tasted halfway decent or not.

They rock. So hard.

I used my mom’s Thai dragon chilies for the red peppers the recipe calls for, and I cut one in half for two jars because those things are damn hot. But it doesn’t seem to have a lot of heat. I’ll probably put a whole pepper in next time. And some garlic. And a little sugar, like the reviews suggest.

And I’ll probably include okra in my summer garden next year — that’s how good this simple, tasty recipe is. Plus, after reading some other recipes for pickled vegetables, I think I’ll try to pickle some green beans and cucumbers the next time I see a good selection at the grocery store or farmer’s market.

Canning food is such a great way to have garden fare all year and make sure nothing goes to waste while crops are booming. This year hasn’t been an issue because I haven’t had a lot of produce (a combination of moving to Fort Worth and the scorching summer). One of these days I ought to figure out how much it costs me to can my own tomatoes, etc. and then compare it to organic canned tomatoes at the grocery store. I bet it’s a money saver as well.

And I have a feeling (with a little garlic and fresh herbs) I could make some badass canned tomatoes.


    • Delish, yes. Healthy, no.

      Plus, I’d be tempted to fry other things since I would have to heat up oil (even in a small saucepan) to fry the okra. And that sounds like a tummy ache waiting to happen!

      But I wonder how it would taste if I baked ’em…

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