Pickled okra—spicy or not—is a fabulous way to keep the distinctive grassy flavor of okra around well past its summer and fall season. Luckily, it's super easy to make these delicious okra pickles. They are a crisp, flavorful element to serve alongside burgers or barbecue, and also wonderfully tasty as part of an appetizer or charcuterie platter.
The recipe below makes cool and crisp refrigerator pickles. What does that mean? First, it means they are very easy to make—no fussing with canning kettles and such. With no hot-water processing, you just put the okra in a jar, pour the brine over it, let it cool, pop it in the fridge, and let it sit at least a week before opening it. You cannot then put the jars in the cupboard because the jars haven't been properly "sealed" for unrefrigerated storage, but they are no much easier and less of a hassle (and less hot) to make, that most people will find that trade-off totally worth it.
Note: This recipe gives you the amount to prepare per pint jar—feel free to double, triple, or quadruple this recipe based on how much okra you have on hand and how many pints of Pickled Okra you think you can eat.
- 1/2 pound fresh, vibrant okra pods
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dill seeds
- 1 chile pepper, fresh or dried or 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Trim off and discard any brown bits from the stem ends of the okra pods, rinse the pods clean, and dry them thoroughly with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
- Peel the garlic and cut it into very thin slices.
- Stuff the trimmed okra, sliced garlic, and dill seeds into a clean pint jar. To make spicy pickles, be sure to stuff in the chile option (if you like spicy at all, this is a place to use chiles—they go extremely well with pickled okra). Go ahead and be a bit aggressive, since the okra will shrink a bit as it pickles and you want to take advantage of the space in there. In other words: really cram the okra pods in there!
- Bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil. Ladle the hot mixture over the okra in the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace (space between the top of the food/liquid and the lid of the jar). Close the jars.
- Let the jar(s) sit until they've cooled to room temperature. As they cool they may "pop"—all this means is the seal on the jar sealed itself. While a "popped" jar still cannot be stored in the cupboard (it wasn't hot-water processed), there is nothing wrong with that jar and there's nothing to worry about—it's just air pressure and rubber and glass interacting as physics demands.
- Put the jar(s) in the fridge and let them sit for at least 1 week but ideally 4 weeks before opening to eat. Once opened, continue to store in the fridge.