One of my
many friends doesn’t like most vegetables. I’m no Nazi nutrient ruler, shaming her into telling me – she just told me, I promise guys.
She reminisced about the time her mom would labor in picking her crop of okra just for her daughter. No one else wanted it, but her. And I tell you what, it is an act of labor! Okra isn’t easy to pick! The plant makes you itchy and the stems are tough! Nonetheless, and what leads me to this post, she gave me an idea.
I wanted to love and serve her by planting some okra just for her like her mom used to. But I didn’t want to over commit myself to too much okra, so I planted one row and sadly, half the row didn’t make it. Those cute little bunnies did what bunnies do and jumped in and ate half them to stumps.
So…I started letting my cats out more often and that saved the other half. Life is fierce, y’all. But let me tell you, most of the bunnies were just scared away. Our orange one is a great hunter, but great at catching those of a certain age – ahhh, sorry, it’s real life.
That Half A Row Though!
I swear I had okra coming out my ears! The things grew super tall and and made beautiful flowers before producing any fruit. But when it started producing, I hardly could keep up!
So as a gift to my friend, and with much love, I gave her a lot of the okra.
…then to other friends, and more friends… I was running out of people to give them to. So I started giving them to my neighbor baby ;). Haha, yes neighbor baby.
Aubrey. She’s nearly 1 1/2 years old, and loves helping me garden. She’d hold the basket while I’d pick. When I ate something, she’d eat it too. This time when I gave her the okra after I took a bite, she ate it. Which was a bit surprising because her parents tell me she doesn’t eat a lot of vegetables either, but when she’s in my garden she doesn’t stop eating them. I often see her picking my cherry tomatoes and eating them by herself.
I was happy to share because there was much to go around!
Food Preservation. The True Pickling Process
The only thing I really knew to do with okra was fry it. Which is what my friend did and loved it. But Riley and I didn’t fry any okra from all that we had. I was sort of over frying. We fried so many green tomatoes this season and I really like change and was ready for a new taste. Sooo I fermented them instead.
Margo, why did you label this post, Pickled Okra instead of Fermented Okra then? Well, let me tell ya…
I use the word pickled liberally. Most people associate pickled with the process in which most supermarket items are labelled pickled.
The weird thing is that not all pickled things are fermented and not all fermented things are pickled. Confusing? Yes.
I say pickled because they taste very similar to those that you buy in most cases at the supermarkets yet, still, somewhat different and better.
Foods that are pickled are those that are persevered in an acidic medium often vinegar (yes, vinegar is a by-product of fermentation, however, pasteurization takes the probiotic and enzymatic value out of them).
Okra that you ferment in your kitchen using salt and water create their own self preserving, acidic liquid that is a by-product of the fermentation process.
…and that is what this is.
I call it the REAL Pickled Okra
1 1/2 lb fresh okra
2 T. non-iodized salt, I use Pink Himalayan Salt
1 quart jar with airtight lid, I use Quart Wide Mouth Mason Jars
1 quart water – preferably filtered
Wash everything – Give the beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with the cleanest environment as possible. You will be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage so wash those too!
Prep okra – Cut the into bite size pieces. I include the top of the stem.
Pack the okra into the jar – Place the mason jar in the middle of your mixing bowl and grab handfuls of the okra and pack them into the jar. Don’t fill the jar to the top to prevent leaking.
Mix salt and water – In warm water mix in the salt until it dissolves. This is called the brine
Add brine to okra – poor the brine over the okra in the jar. Again, don’t fill the jar to the top to prevent leaking.
Cover the jar – put the lid on the mason jar to keep it airtight.
Set the jar aside to ferment – Put the jar on a shelf out of direct sunlight in room temperature to ferment for 3-10 days. beware that your jar may leak liquid. To avoid tampering with the bacteria balance avoid opening an closing the jar until you are ready to eat it.
You can continue to leave your okra on the shelf in room temperature. It will continue to ferment thus getting more vinegary.
To slow the fermentation process down or to avoid it from getting more of a vinegar taste, put the okra in the fridge.
Pickled/fermented okra will lasts months.