As I grew up in the northeastern U.S., I tried okra for the first time only five years ago at an Indian restaurant in LA –  and I’ve been hooked on these crunchy pods ever since. I have no tolerance for people who whine about okra’s innards being slimy — that’s a feature, not a bug! It’s precisely why people stew it and use it in gumbo; that slime is a natural thickener. In any case, cooking coaxes out the mucilage that makes okra slimy, so you won’t find that fibrous goo in your finished okra pickles.

Refrigerator pickles are a nice trick to have in your cooking repertoire; though they’re not shelf-stable, they’re a snap (ha!) to throw together and add some fun to sandwiches or hors d’oeuvre plates. I’ve pickled green beans, garlic, jalapeños, and, of course, cucumbers, but this is hands-down my favorite kind of refrigerator pickle.

When you’re pickling things, as a general rule, you want your veggies to be as fresh as possible. The longer you wait to pickle them, the less crisp they’re likely to be. Nothing beats pickled food with a satisfying crunch to it! So if you can get your hands on okra fresh off the plant, do it for this recipe; it’s the best material for making pickles.

 

Pickled Okra
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb fresh okra
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 handful fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 c water
  • ½ c white vinegar
  • ½ c rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Place garlic, dill, and peppercorns in a large, clean, odorless glass jar with a well-fitting lid.
  2. Rinse okra and pat dry with a clean towel.
  3. Tightly pack jar with whole, upright okra pods.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat water, vinegars, and salt, stirring occasionally, until salt has fully dissolved.
  5. Slowly pour a small amount into the jar and gently swirl it around the jar; the glass must be heated slowly so it doesn’t crack.
  6. Slowly add the rest of the liquid until the okra stems have just been covered.
  7. Let jar cool for an hour or two before refrigerating.
  8. Refrigerate at least 5 days before consuming.
Notes
These pickles keep just fine in your fridge for a few months, if you can somehow keep yourself from devouring them for that long. The flavor will continue to develop and the texture may soften the longer you allow them to sit.