Learn how to make Homemade Pickled Okra. From preparing the brine to packing and sealing the jars, this step-by-step guide will have you canning our favorite southern veggie with no added preservatives
Enjoy a little taste of summer all year by canning your own Homemade Pickled Okra! You’ll love these tender young pods of okra preserved in a brine with garlic, dill, and peppercorns.
Summer is always a busy time for canning and preserving. I almost always make some Strawberry Jam and our favorite Kosher Dills along with a good Basic Salsa recipe and a few Quick Pickled Jalapenos. We’re already enjoying some of those this year.
I also like to make a few jars of Sugar-Free Bread and Butter Pickles to savor all through the fall and winter.
My Favorite Canning Recipe
No matter how busy I may be with other projects, I always make time during the summer to make a few jars of my favorite Pickled Okra.
Okra pickles have always been my personal favorite. I’ll breeze right by a dill pickle if these are around. I love a spear or two with a sandwich or just as an accompaniment to some good, old-fashioned southern vegetables. It’s also a great addition to an antipasto platter.
Select the Okra Carefully
When I’m ready to make pickled okra, I hand select every pod for the recipe. Really. I literally stand there in the produce aisle or the farmer’s market and choose every single pod because I want them to be young, tender, and no longer than the depth of a pint jar – about 4 inches. It usually takes between 1 1/2 to 2 pounds to make three pints.
You’ll have to use your cook’s judgment based on the okra that is available to you. If you have leftovers, so much the better! Slice it, dredge it in some cornmeal and make Fried Okra or make Okra Chips!
Prepare the Equipment
Start by preparing the jars, rings, and lids according to standard canning procedure. If you haven’t canned before, or if it’s been a while since your last canning session, please review the process and get all your equipment ready before you start.
One of the best resources for new and seasoned canners alike is the Ball Book of Canning and Preserving. It’s published by the people who make Ball canning jars. It’s available in lots of locations and on the web at amazon.com.
Some other good online resources are:
- National Center for Home Food Preservation (University of Georgia)
- Home Food Preservation Site (Pennsylvania State University)
- A Beginner’s Guide to Canning from Serious Eats
The National Center for Home Food Preservation even offers a free online course in food preservation. It’s well worth the time for the amount of information you get!
Team Okra – Okra Lover’s T-Shirt
About the Ingredients and Equipment
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- Fresh Okra (Choose pods that are free of blemishes and about 3-4 inches long. You’ll need approximately 2 pounds for the recipe.
- Garlic Cloves (Whole, peeled cloves.)
- Canning Salt (Canning salt is very pure with no added minerals or preservatives to prevent caking. Other salts will cause the pickling liquid to become cloudy.)
- Dried Dill Seed (Find this with the spices in your grocery store.)
- Whole Peppercorns (I use common black peppercorns. White, pink, or green also work.)
- White Vinegar (5% acidity) (To make a pickled product safe for pantry storage, vinegar with at least 5% acidity is required. Regular white vinegar meets that requirement.)
- Pint Canning Jars, Lids, and Rings (Remember that jars and rings (bands) can be reused but lids cannot.)
- Jar Lifter, Lid Lifter, and Funnel (These canning tools are not mandatory but make the job much easier!)
- Water Bath Canner with Lid or Large Kettle (You’ll need a pot deep enough to cover the submerged jars with at least 2 inches of water.)
You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Pickled Okra
My recipe makes three pint jars. Feel free to double it if you want more!
Prepare the Okra and Spices
- Wash the okra in cold water. Trim the cut the ends only if necessary. Do not cut into the body of the okra pod.
- Get the spices ready. You’ll need canning salt, dill seed, whole peppercorns, and garlic cloves. Peel the garlic, but leave it whole.
Umm…can you just pretend that there is some salt in that photo? It was sitting off to the side…oops.
Fill the Jars
Sterilize three pint jars and rings according to standard canning procedures. Briefly, you’ll wash them in hot, soapy water and then submerge them in boiling water (the water in the canner works great!) for a few minutes while you prepare everything. To prepare the lids, wash and rinse them and hold them in barely simmering water until needed.
- Into the sterile jars, pack as many pods of okra as possible with the tips pointing up. Pack the okra tightly but be careful not to crush the pods.
- To each jar add 1 teaspoon of canning salt, 1 whole garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of dried dill seed, and 1/4 teaspoon of whole peppercorns.
- Finish packing the jars as fully as possible with additional okra, tips down, fitting the pods in tightly but taking care not to crush the okra.
- Bring the vinegar and water to a boil.
- Using a funnel, fill jars with the vinegar and water mixture to within 1/4 inch of the rim.
Close the Jars and Process in Water Bath
- Wipe the jar rims and place the lids and rings on the jars. Screw the lids on finger-tight.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Allow Cooling Time
- Remove the jars from the canner and allow them to cool completely (12 to 24 hours).
- After the jars have cooled, test for a complete seal and then store in a cool, dark place. Any jars that didn’t seal completely may be stored in the refrigerator and used first.
Notice the difference in color after they come out of the canner. The okra has taken on a beautiful olive green color.
How long does it take for okra to pickle?
Let the pickles sit for about 4 to 6 weeks to achieve the best flavor.
How long does pickled okra last?
Properly stored in a cool, dark place, pickled okra should last approximately one year.
Can I use frozen okra for canning?
Sorry, but frozen okra isn’t good for canning. The freezing process breaks down microscopic cell walls in the okra making it too soft for pickles.
Can I use cider vinegar?
Pickling requires vinegar with at least 5% acidity for safety reasons. Cider vinegar is usually about 2-3% acidity.
Can I make it spicy?
Absolutely! To make hot pickled okra, simply add a dried red chile pepper to each jar before filling with the hot vinegar and water mixture.
Questions About Pickling Okra
Pickled okra is not slimy. Not even a little bit. Okra only gets slimy when it’s cut into and you don’t cut the okra to make pickles. Besides that, vinegar neutralizes the slime anyway so the pickles would never have a chance of becoming slimy.
You can use any vinegar that has at least 5% acidity for pickling.
Your okra is tough because it was too mature when you purchased or harvested it. When choosing okra for pickling or for cooking, bigger is not better. You want young, tender pods of about 3 to 4 inches in length.
Pickled okra is shelf stable as long as it’s correctly processed and the lids formed a good seal on the jars. If one or more jars did not seal in the canning process, those can be stored in the refrigerator and used first. Do store the unused pickles in the refrigerator after you open a jar.
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Personalized Canning Jar Labels
- 2 pounds okra choose small tender pods (may need more or less than two pounds)
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 3 teaspoons canning salt
- 3 teaspoons dill seed
- ¾ teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 ½ cups white vinegar 5% acidity
- 1 ½ cups water
- Prepare jars, rings and lids according to standard canning procedure.
- Into the sterile jars, pack as many pods of okra as possible with the tips pointing up.
- To each jar add 1 whole garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of canning salt, 1 teaspoon of dill seed and 1/4 teaspoon of whole peppercorns.
- Finish packing the jars as much as possible with additional okra, tips down, fitting the pods in tightly but take care not to crush the okra.
- Bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Fill jars to within 1/4 inch of the rim.
- Place lids and rings on jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- Remove jars from the canner and allow them to cool completely.
- Let the pickles sit for 4-6 weeks to achieve the best flavor.
- When preparing the okra, trim the tops only if needed. Be careful not to cut into the body of the okra pod.
- Sterilize the jars and rings according to standard canning procedures. Briefly, you’ll wash them in hot, soapy water and then submerge them in boiling water (the water in the canner works great!) for a few minutes while you prepare everything. To prepare the lids, wash and rinse them and hold them in barely simmering water until needed.
- Any jars that didn’t seal completely may be stored in the refrigerator and used first.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally published on September 10, 2010. It has been updated with additional information.