Pickling fresh produce is a Southern right-of- passage. Whether you’re looking to spice up a salad, cocktail, or just eat them straight from the jar, these tangy treats should be on every Spring menu.
1 1/2 pounds of fresh okra
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 (1/4-inch) thick slices of lemon 2 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity) 2 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar, reduce heat and keep warm.
While the water is heating in step one, prepare the okra and the spices. Rinse the okra and trim the stem ends to 1/4-inch.
Place all pickling spices in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Place a lemon slice at the bottom of each jar. Add a tablespoon of the mixed pickling spices to each jar. Place a peeled garlic clove on top of the spices and lemon.
Pack the okra in the jars, alternating stem-side- up and stem-side-down to allow you to pack the okra well into the jars. The top of the okra should come between an inch to 1/2 an inch from the rim of the jar.
Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the jars, up to 1/4-inch from the rim of the jars. Run a thin knife between the okra and the jars to dislodge any obvious air bubbles.
Place lids on jars. Screw on the the lids, firmly, but not too tight.
Place packed jars back in the pot with water you used to sterilize the jars. The water should still be hot. Because you are putting back in full jars, rather than empty jars, some water will be displaced. Allow for 1 to 2 inches of water to cover the jars. Beyond that you may want to remove excess water.
Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove to towel lined counter or to a rack (You want to avoid putting a hot jar on a cold surface, or else the jar might crack.)
As the jars cool, you should hear a popping sound as the vacuum created by the cooling air in the jars pulls the lid down and seals the jars. A properly sealed jar can last in a cool closet out of direct sun for about a year.
If any jars do not seal, store them chilled in the refrigerator. Opened jars should last one to two months in the refrigerator.
Let sit 24 hours before eating.