You know those days that just completely kick you in the ass? And then, while you’re down they kick you some more? I have had a few of those days this week. First, a predator dug into what I thought was my secure chicken coop and got my girls. And then it just kept coming, to the point where when the class fish, Car, died I had nothing left to do but laugh. It was overwhelming, how too-damn-much the situation was.
Life can sometimes feel like all you’re doing is treading water in open ocean, just trying to breathe deeply between waves hitting you in the face. I’m great at treading water, though, and when you get on the boat there is always a jar of pickled okra in the cooler. Or at least there should be.
Spicy Pickled Okra
4 pounds of fresh okra
6 pint size canning jars with lids and bands
3 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 1/2 cups water
6 tbsp red pepper flakes
24 cloves garlic
2 tbsp salt
6 tsps whole mustard seeds
6 tsps whole cumin seeds
2 jalapeños, sliced
1 habanero, minced
6 tbsps garlic hot sauce
Begin by sterilizing your jars. About an hour before you want to can fill two large pots with water. I recommend that you have some canning equipment, at the very least a large pot with a rack and a pair of tongs. You’ll need a separate pot for sterilizing your jars and lids. Bring both pots of water to a boil. In one pot (the one without a lid) place your jars and the lids (not the screw bands). Allow them to boil for at least 10 minutes, but keep them in the pot until right before you fill them.
In a non reactive sauce pan heat vinegar, water, and salt.
Clean the okra and cut off the stems. In each sterilized jar, place two cloves of garlic, two slices of jalapeño, a pinch of fresh habanero, 1 tbsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, and as much okra as you can pack in tightly. Whisk hot sauce into vinegar mixture and ladle into each jar, leaving about 1/4″ headspace. Wipe the rim down, place a clean lid on each jar, and screw band on tightly. Process in your large pot (with rack) for 10 minutes. Remove from water, give the band another squeeze, and allow to sit. Once the jars have sealed (you’ll know if you can’t pop the lid up and down), set them in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks. They will stay for up to a year.
**As with any preservation process, there are risks. If you notice anything abnormal, discard the pickles immediately. Botulism is no fun.**