Makes 4 pints
1 1/2 pounds of fresh okra (3 1/2 to 4 inches long)
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 lemon, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
2 hot peppers, seeded, and cut in half (optional)
2 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
2 cups water
3 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs sugar
2 TBS mustard seeds
1 TBS coriander seeds
1 TBS red pepper flakes (optional if not using fresh hot peppers)
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
Supplies for canning
4 pint-sized canning jars with lids and screw bands
A large pot for canning (at least 16 qts.)
Canning tongs and a canning funnel (or extra curse words)
Directions (You can do these 3 steps – Prep, Make the Pickle, and Prep the Okra & Spices - simultaneously)
Sterilize your jars and lids. For the jars, place in your canning pot with a steamer rack, canning rack, or a clean kitchen towel in the bottom of the pot preventing the jars from touching the bottom. Fill with water to the rim of the jars and bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes. Place the lids in a large clean bowl and pour boiling water over them.
Alternately, you can run your clean jars through the dishwasher with no soap. OR you can wash them inside and out and place the jars in a warm oven to dry thoroughly.
If you aren’t canning, but doing a quick pickle, I still recommend doing one of these to ensure a clean environment.
Make the Pickle
Bring vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a boil to dissolve the solids. Reduce heat to a simmer.
Prep the Okra and Spices
Rinse the okra and trim the stem end to a ¼ inch. Mix all the pickling spices in a small bowl.
Fill the Jars
Prepare your work surface by covering it with a clean kitchen towel. Remove the hot jars from the water bath (shaking out excess water) with canning tongs and place them on the towel (Don’t discard the hot water – you will use it for the canning step!). Add a lemon slice to the bottom of each jar and top with 1 tbs of the pickling spice and a garlic clove.
Pack the okra and the hot pepper slices in the jars (be careful – they’re hot!), leaving ½ inch to an inch between the okra and the rim of the jar. Alternate stems up and stems down to fit the okra in tight.
Using the canning funnel, pour the hot pickle into the jars, leaving ¼ inch of head space from the rim. Run a thin knife around the okra to dislodge any air bubbles, topping off with more pickle if the level decreases after this process. If you run out of pickle, just add equal parts water and vinegar (no need to heat) to get back to that ¼ inch head space.
Wipe the jar rims with a clean damp towel and add your sterilized lids, securing in place with the screw bands to hand-tightness.
Use the canning tongs to put the jars back into the pot, removing any water in excess of 1 inch over the jars. Bring to a boil and process jars for 15 minutes.
Remove the jars (again – the tongs) to the same toweled surface, and let cool. As they cool, you will hear the canning process continue as a vacuum forms inside the jars, sucking in the lid with a little pop. Move to a cool area to store for up to a year. If any of the jars don’t seal properly, fridge-store them and eat them within a month or so.
Store your quick pickled jars in the fridge and consume within a month. If you want to skip the step with the lids, invest in some of these lids; they’re easier to get on and off your jars. Wait to screw them on until your pickles cool somewhat on the counter.