On Pickles and Panic

I opened the fridge. All our homemade pickles had been consumed. I panicked. And then I pickled every single comestible in sight. 

I love okra. I have long been absolutely obsessed with it pickled, fried and stewed. But, I’ll admit, I’ve never worked with it in my own kitchen. It seems tricky, too easy to make slimy and unappealing. When I saw a little box at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to give it a try. I think I pickled eight vegetables in one day. I fell into a groove, mixing brine after brine, jars cooling all over the apartment. It smelled like vinegar in here for days. So, basically, I was a happy camper.

Yes, I really put that much garlic in there.
 The recipe I was working with was for four pints. I split that in two to pickle a quart. Somehow, there was so much extra brine leftover, that there was enough for a whole extra pint. With that, I made my favorite new cocktail garnish that I will tell you all about next, so don’t throw it out!

Okra Pickles
Adapted from Linda Ziedrich’s The Joy of Pickling
The most wonderful discovery while making these: okra is the PERFECT shape to pack into a mason jar for pickling. It doesn’t fight you, just slides perfectly in next to its friends for its vinegar bath. 

2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 or 2 small dried or fresh chile peppers
1 tsp dill seeds
1 quart (about 1 pound) fresh small okra pods, stems trimmed
2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups water
1 tbsp pickling salt

Put garlic, chiles and dill seeds into your quart jar. Pack the okra into the jars. In a saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water and salt, stirring to dissolve the salt. Ladle the hot liquid over the okra, leaving 1/2 inch head-space, but making sure the okra is fully submerged. Store the jars in the fridge for at least three weeks.

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