Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A New Adventure: Pickling and Jarring

I have been curious about jarring (canning, whatever you want to call it) for a while now.  I don't own a pressure cooker, so I did it the old fashioned way: with a pot of boiling water.  I read up about the sanitation process (boiling the jars and lids), and settled on a recipe: Pickled Okra.  I love pickles, I love okra...so I went for it.  The end result turned out well - good flavor, but the okra became a little softer than I wanted it to.  I wanted it crisp enough to snap in half, but the final boiling process (to seal the jars) cooked it slightly.  No worries, I will still eat it all eventually :)

I bought a little starter kit which included a jar grabber (I am very technical with my terminology), a lid magnet, a funnel, and a bubble-popping/measuring device, which I didn't feel the need to use.

Here is the recipe for the brine (taken straight from epicurious.com):
  • 1 pound okra (3 1/2 to 4 inches long)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 cups cider vinegar (24 fluid ounces) *I used Braggs Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar- I love vinegar, but others may think this is too strong*
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dill seeds *Next time I'd make it 2 Tbsp
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds *Next time I'd make it 1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Special equipment: 6 (1/2-pt) canning jars with screw bands and lids; an instant-read or candy thermometer
After some more reading, I found that you can just put the jars in the dishwasher on the "sanitize" setting if you don't want to boil them.


 Adding the brine

Filled jars


 A few tips I have recently read on keeping the okra crispy:
*Add a grape leaf to each jar
*Add alum to each jar
*Before adding the brine, soak the okra in an ice bath for about an hour

Here is a great step-by-step to follow, with a slightly different brine recipe.

Anyone with canning experience- please feel free to leave comments!

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