Have an abundance of fresh okra? Can it! It’s easier than most people think, and anyone can do it. When it’s canned, okra can be enjoyed any time of the year. There is nothing like opening up a jar of summer okra on a cold, winter day for a refreshing taste of summer.
Shop for supplies needed for canning day in advance, so that canning can be done when vegetables are at their peak of ripeness. There is nothing worse than having to drop what is being done to run to the store. Okra is always best when canned right after harvest.
Definitely needed to can okra are home canning jars, lids, and bands. A boiling-water canner is an absolute must. A jar lifter will be needed, too.
3 ½ pounds small okra pods
1/3 cup canning salt
2 teaspoons dill seed
3 cups of water
3 cups vinegar
4 cloves of garlic
2 small hot red peppers, cut in half*
*Wear rubber gloves when cutting the red peppers in half as the peppers can burn or irritate the skin.
Here are the easy steps to pickle okra with a yield of about 4 pints:
1. Wash the jars and lids and then sterilize in boiling water.
2. Wash the okra and let drain.
3. Trim the stems off the okra, but be careful not to cut the pots. Set aside.
4. Combine the dill seed, salt, water and vinegar in a large saucepot. Use a non-metal or coated metal pot with no scratches in coating for this as metal will react with the vinegar and make the liquid cloudy. Bring the liquid to a boil.
5. Pack the trimmed and washed okra into clean jars, leaving ¼-inch of headspace.
6. Put one clove of garlic and ½ hot red pepper in each jar.
7. Ladle the hot dill seed, salt, water and vinegar liquid over the okra, still leaving ¼-inch headspace.
8. Remove air bubbles. The bubbles will rise as the solution fills the okra cavities. Fill half way. Wait a few minutes and let the bubbles rise. Then add the rest of the liquid.
9. Adjust the two-piece caps and screw on jars tightly.
10. Place the jars in the boiling water canner making sure the water is all ready at a rolling boil. Process for 15 minutes in the canner. Make sure that they stay covered with at least one inch of water.
11. Remove from canner, let cool. Don’t bump them or allow them to touch. This will usually take several hours.
12. Check the seal by making sure the lid has been sucked down. Press the lid gently with your finger. If it pops up and down, it is not sealed properly. If this happens, it must be reprocessed with a new lid or placed in the refrigerator. It cannot be stored as-is at room temperature.
13. Store the canned okra. Wait at least 4 weeks before opening a jar, so that it has developed a satisfactory flavor.
Enjoy the rich tradition of preserving good food, and savor the rich flavor of home-pickled okra year round. Share with family and friends. The jars of pickled okra make wonderful gifts, too. There is a lot of satisfaction in creating jars of homemade pickled okra.