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Quick and Easy Pickled Okra Recipe

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If you love tangy and crunchy, this pickled okra recipe is for you! Learn all the tips and tricks for making and canning your own okra pickles below. 

Quick and Easy pickled okra recipe

Summer is a busy time for canning and preserving. Sure, there’s a lot you can do all year long, like make homemade jerky, and can chili beans. But in the summer, gardens and farmer’s markets are going strong, and it’s the perfect time to capture summer freshness in a bottle – or jar. 

I absolutely love canning diced tomatoes (home grown tomatoes just can’t be beat!), and canning dill pickles, as well as bread and butter pickles. Making strawberry jam for toast, and pickled jalapeños for nachos is a must, and of course we can’t forget canning green beans. 

But pickled okra has a special place in my heart. 

Maybe it’s because my mom hated okra. Apparently she had it one too many times as a kid and decided that as an adult she would never have to eat it again. So we never grew it. So when I was first introduced, I thought it was gross. You can’t live in Tennessee and not eat okra though, so finally a friend convinced me to at least try it pickled. 

And that’s the moment I was hooked. 

I took it upon myself to grow okra in our garden, and make myself a few jars of pickled okra (and even fried okra occasionally) every summer. 

I like to make a couple of quart jars to keep in the fridge more than I like to can a whole bunch to keep on the pantry shelves. I love the way it stays crisp when it’s cold. So you won’t actually see me canning much okra – beyond the pickles, I mostly freeze it, sliced, to have on hand for gumbo and stews.

Homemade pickled okra makes such a great snack, and are a perfect addition to charcuterie boards. I also happen to think they go great with burgers.

How to select okra for pickled okra

There’s one thing that’s important about making pickled okra – you want baby okras. I’m talking no longer than your thumb if you can find them that small (or grow your own so you can cut it when you want). 

bowl of pickled okra

The smaller okra pods are, the more tender. Usually what you find in your grocery store is really big and a little tough. If you have to use it, do what you gotta do. But ideally, you’ll find smaller okra. 

My husband is pretty staunch in his letting okra get at least 2 inches, and sometimes 4 inches long. It’s one of his less attractive attributes ;), but since I don’t have time to get in the garden most days, I take what I can get.  

So what I’m saying is; small is idea, but use what you can get your hands on. 

Secondly,

How to prep okra for making pickles

It’s important to leave the okra whole when you’re pickling it. Otherwise your pickling brine will get slimy. 

To that end, trim the stems from the okra short, but don’t trim down into the okra pod itself. Better too long than too short. 

That’s all you have to do – wash the okra, and trim the stems. 

Ingredients for making pickled okra

Ingredients for making pickled okra

This pickled okra recipe uses a basic brine that you can customize to your preference, which we’ll talk about in the next section. 

For now, here are the basic ingredients:

Ingredients substitutions

For pickles, the main things you need to be sure not to change are the water, vinegar, and salt ratios. 

Almost everything else is fair game. 

The dill. In my opinion, fresh dill heads are the best option. The flavor is more potent and delicious. Second best is dill seeds, and third is dill weed. If you’re buying dill locally, I often find dill seeds sold out of grocery stores this time of year, so just know that dried dill weed is an option. 

The garlic. Slicing or crushing the garlic cloves can help release the flavor, and give your pickles a much more potent garlic flavor. You can also add more than the recipe calls for. After all, garlic is best measured with the heart. 

Can I use apple cider vinegar? 

For safety reasons, you need a 5% vinegar for making pickles. So if you can find a cider vinegar with a 5% acidity, then absolutely! Otherwise, you’ll need to stick with distilled white vinegar. 

Can I make the pickles spicy? 

Of course! I use a small bit of red pepper flakes in this recipe, but you can go as hot as you want. 

Here are my top picks for making spicy pickled okra: 

  • Cayenne pepper. Place a small red cayenne pepper in each jar. You can slice it to release more of the hot pepper flavor, and make hotter pickles.
  • A slice of jalapeño in each jar. If you have hot jalapeños, this can get spicy real quick. Slicing the pepper releases the heat into the brine more more aggressively.
  • Any other pepper you want to use. 

One thing to keep in mind: the pickles will get hotter the older they are, so consider that before you load up on peppers. 

Other Ingredients

If you want to add some flavor and zest to your pickled okra, here are some other flavorful additons you can make: 

  • a Tablespoons of mustard seed added to the brine (not each jar)
  • a teaspoon of peppercorns per jar
  • A lemon slice in each jar
  • a Tablespoon of mixed pickling spices (make your own with this recipe) added to the pickling liquid

Can I use frozen okra to make pickles? 

I would not recommend it. Freezing most vegetables – including okra – breaks down the cell walls, making it soft, which ends up being mushy pickles. 

another consideration is that most okra is sliced before freezing. So you’re back to slimy brine. 

Always use fresh okra for making pickles!

How long does it take to make pickled okra? 

Most of the time, we say to let the brine work its magic for about a week before considering them done. You can try them before that, but if you want that pickle flavor all the way through, patience pays off!

How to make pickled okra

The first step is to gather your ingredients. 

Once you have everything together, combine the water, vinegar, salt, dill, and red pepper flakes in a sauce pan, and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally as the salt dissolves. 

brine for canning pickled okra

As the brine heats, wash and trim okra. 

Then sterilize your jars. You can do this by boiling them, or heating in an oven at 350º for ten minutes. 

When your jars are ready, place a clove of garlic, and if using, a pepper in each jar, then fill with okra. While you want to pack your jars as full of okra as possible, be sure leave a fair amount of headspace – at least 1/2 an inch. Having your jar to full can prevent it from sealing. 

placing garlic in the bottom of canning jar

Once the brine is simmering, remove it from the heat and ladle over the okra-filled jars. 

Fit the jars with rings and lids, being sure each of the jar rims is clean and free of debris. 

hot pickling brine next to jars full of okra

At this point, you can flip the jars upside down for 90 seconds to sterilize the lids, and right them to finish cooling, and store your pickled okra in the refrigerator. 

How to can pickled okra

To go on to canning the okra, lower the hot canning jars into an equally hot water bath canner. 

Make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch.

Bring pot to a full, rolling boil. 

Set timer to 10 minutes for pints, or 15 minutes for quarts.

After the time is up, remove kettle from heat, and let cool naturally before removing lids and taking jars out. 

Check jars for seal, then store cooled jars of pickled okra in a cool place out of direct sunlight. 

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Quick and Easy Pickled Okra Recipe

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4.5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Elise New

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 1/2 lbs of okra (preferably baby okra)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups vinegar, 5% acidity 
  • 1/3 cup kosher or canning salt
  • 2 teaspoons dill seed, or dill weed. 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or one small pepper per jar
  • 1 garlic clove per jar

5 pint jars, or 2 quarts + 1 pint

Instructions

  1. Wash okra, and trim stem down to a nubbin, being careful not to cut into the okra pod itself
  2. In a saucepan, heat water, vinegar, salt, dill, and red pepper flakes to a simmer, stirring occasionally until salt it dissolved
  3. Place a clove of garlic in each jar
  4. Pack each jar with okra, leaving 1/2 inch headspace (or more)
  5. Ladle hot brine over okra to completely cover
  6. Wipe rims
  7. Screw down lids and bands firmly

To can: 

  1. Place hot jars into a prepared, hot water bath canner. Keeping in mind that your canner should be roughly the same temperature as your jars
  2. Cover kettle with lid, and bring to a full, rolling boil
  3. Boil pint for 10 minutes, or quarts for 15 minutes
  4. Remove kettle from heat
  5. Let cool before removing jars
  6. Store cooled jars in a cool place out of direct sunlight for up to 6 months

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4 Comments

  1. I appreciate the tab for doubling and tripling recipe. It was easy to make. I have tried other recipes and my family loved yours. It will be my go to recipe from now on. Thank you so much

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