How to Pickle Okra

This tangy recipe stirs up memories of summers at grandma's house.

pickled okra

Pickled Okra

Pickled okra is a Southern summer treat and a quick and easy way to preserve your extra harvest.

Pickled okra is a Southern summer treat and a quick and easy way to preserve your extra harvest.

For many of us, the best pickles have something beyond just the bright tangy flavor a good brine offers. That thing is crunch. A firm texture and a little resistance when sinking your teeth into a well-pickled vegetable is the mark of a job well done. Starting with okra can make it easy for the home pickler. This firm icon of the South, hollow, hearty and ready to soak up the sweet and salty flavors of this recipe, is a great candidate for the brine.

Can You Pickle It?

Okra pod on plant

‘Clemson Spineless’ Okra

Okra flowers and leaves are both edible. The leaves contain the same mucilaginous properties (aka sliminess) as the pods and are typically chopped and added to dishes as a thickening agent. Leaf flavor is mild, much like the pods. Blooms make a beautiful edible adornment to any dish, or candy them with sugar for a longer lasting garnish.

Photo by: Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

The journey to a perfect pickle starts with a well-selected vegetable. When it comes to okra, bigger is not better. Those giants of 5 or 6 inches that seem like prize-winners are actually past their prime and will result in a tough, fibrous pickle. Be sure to use okra no larger than 3 inches or so for pickles so good you may wonder why cucumbers get all the great pickling press.

Organic grower "Farmer D" Daron Joffe holds organic okra. Okra is susceptible to damage from nematodes, so it should follow a crop rotation using corn or grass crops. Okra should not follow other crops that are highly susceptible to nematodes such as squash and sweet potatoes.

Pickled Okra Recipe

  • 3 pints okra
  • 3 small hot peppers
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

    Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, garlic, coriander, celery seed and peppercorn in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil then reduce heat to keep warm.

    Place 3 pint jars and accompanying jars and lids in a water bath and bring to a boil 10 minutes to warm and sterilize.

    Remove jars from bath and pack full with okra.

    Return water to a boil.

    Place a hot pepper in each jar.

    Pour brine into jars to cover okra.

    Cap tightly and return jars to bath of boiling water for 15 minutes to seal.

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