My last post crescendo-ed with a bit of a disappointment. "Yee-haw kitchen experimentation!" I proclaimed, only to chicken out at the last minute when it came to actually attempting both of two new preparations for one new ingredient.
Now, however, I am back with a kitchen smelling of vinegar and spices. Yes, pickled okra finally had its due. Fried and crispy bites of that strange looking pod would not be the last my kitchen saw of okra.
But again, baby steps. Today's was just a refrigerator pickle, one that does not entail boiling canning tongs and listening for the "pop" of a sealed lid. This jar of pickled okra won't have a prolonged shelf life, but that's fine by me because these pickles won't be lasting very long anyway.
Boil a large jar to sanitize, and keep the jar warm until you're ready to fill it. (Even though these are refrigerator pickles, a little extra sanitation doesn't hurt). In a small pot, combine 2 cups vinegar (I used mostly cider vinegar with a touch of red wine vinegar), one cup water, 2 tablespoons salt, and whatever pickling spices you choose. I threw in a few big pinches of red pepper flakes, a generous palm-full of coriander seeds, a few allspice berries, some black peppercorns, and a tablespoon or so of black mustard seeds. Bring this brine up to a boil. Fill the sanitized jar with 1 pound (that's a little over 2 cups worth) of whole okra pods, throw in 4 peeled cloves of garlic, then slowly pour in the brine. Let the jar sit uncovered until it's cooled, then cover and throw it in the fridge.
In the most sunshine-y weather you can summon, bring these to a picnic and impress your friends. Or lounge on a park bench with your two new best friends: a good book and a jar of pickles.