This unusual cool spell has made me start thinking it is already fall. Like women and grannies of the past, I spend considerable effort in the summer and fall getting ready for winter. While my husband gathers firewood for us, my job is to preserve the summer’s harvest so we have an abundance of our own food through out the winter.
I particularly love making pickles. I give them as gifts as well as enjoy different pickled vegetables throughout the winter. When it comes to okra, this is a great way to preserve it without adding a bunch of calories like frying okra does. Okra is a good source of several vitamins and minerals as well as fiber, which is important for colon health and blood sugar. Finally, there are other health benefits from that okra mucilage, which is responsible for its slimy texture. This mucilage can soothe the gut and help absorb toxins in the digestive tract. It may even promote healthy cholesterol levels.
My friends tell me I make the best-pickled okra. I use the red okra we grow on our farm and sell at Ozark Natural Foods. It gives it a pretty pink tint.
This recipe is one I got from husband’s granny who got it from her mom. I am proud to continue this Arkansas tradition by making it for my friends.
Granny’s Pickled Okra
20 ounces of small okra
2 pods hot red or green pepper
2 cloves garlic peeled
2 cups vinegar
¼ cup water
3 Tablespoons salt
¼ tsp celery seed or mustard seed (optional)
Pack okra into 2 hot sterilized pint jars. Put 1 pepper pod and 1 garlic clove in each jar. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil and pour over the okra leaving a ½ inch head room.
Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath following professional instructions like these from Ball. http://www.freshpreserving.com/tools/waterbath-canning
Let stand for 4 weeks before using.
I have to admit I usually quadruple the recipe and use this ratio of water and vinegar for the brine:
1 scant cup salt
2 quarts apple cider vinegar
1 quart water
1-2 tsp celery or mustard seeds (or combination of both)
I sometimes additionally put in 1 tsp of dill seeds to the brine and/or 2 whole black peppercorns per jar. I also bring the brine to a boil while I am sterilizing the jars, but I wanted to give you granny’s original recipe the way she wrote it.
Here is an interesting recipe for bread and butter okra pickles I’ll have to try next.
And finally, here are some pictures of my husband from today doing his winter preparations. One of our shade trees died of Dutch elm disease, but at least we know where our firewood is coming from this year.
Winter is coming!