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Monday, July 29, 2013

Canning Okra - DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE

UPDATE, AUGUST 28, 2013: DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE AS IS. DUE TO NEW INFORMATION I HAVE RECEIVED I NO LONGER RECOMMEND THIS RECIPE. PLEASE READ THIS POST FOR NEW INFORMATION.
Fern

A few years ago, I was given a recipe for canning okra. This okra is supposed to be good for frying. I was very, very skeptical. I asked how you could can okra without it being really slimy and yucky or tasting like vinegar. The lady that gave me the recipe said she had the same doubts and questions, but found out it works great. Since we are trying to decrease our dependence on the freezer, this is the summer to try this canning recipe. 

1 gallon sliced okra 
2 tbsp. salt
6 tbsp. vinegar
1 cup water

Prepare jars, lids and rings. Place okra in a large pan. Mix vinegar, salt and water together. Pour over okra. Fill pan with enough water to cover okra. Bring to a full boil. Boil for 5 minutes. 


Fill jars with okra. Pour enough liquid in jars to cover okra. Seal. No hot water bath. Just have everything hot and the liquid boiling. Put the rings on tight, cover with a towel and let them cool slowly and seal.

Now, I can't say it looks very appetizing in the jar. It's kind of cloudy and slimy looking to me. And the boiling made the okra a pale green color. My comment - looks yucky. We did two quarts initially as an experiment. We waited two weeks before we cooked up the first quart. Then waited another two weeks and cooked up the second quart.



When you're ready to try it, pour it into a colander, rinse well, drain. 










Since the okra is wet, it takes a little more cornmeal than fresh.






 
We don't deep fry our okra. We use just enough oil to keep it from sticking. When it first starts to fry it doesn't look very good. The pale color is odd and it is softer than I expected.


But as it cooked, it started to look like 'normal' fried okra. I wondered if the vinegar used during canning would change the flavor.


Guess what? It is good. It is even better than the frozen we put up last summer. When you fry up frozen okra it is a little tough and chewy. The canned okra was more moist and has a very good flavor. This was a very nice surprise. 


Sometimes it pays to be a little skeptical and cautious, but not to the point that it precludes trying new things. You never know when something new you try may be of great benefit to you or someone you know. Especially something that tastes good!

Until next time - Fern

23 comments:

  1. Interesting! I may have to try this.

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  2. Okay I will bite! This does look interesting from an old skeptic.

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  3. Since this is not put through a water bath, do you have any idea how long these will be good? Does the vinegar act as a type of pickling agent? Even so, pickles are put through a water bath, unless you go the lactose fermentation route. I love fried okra, so this would be a good way to have okra on hand, but I am worried about how long it would last.

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    1. This is the first year I have tried this so I don't know how long it will keep. I have made relish and pickles that I don't water bath and they are good for a year or more. The ratio of vinegar to water in the okra recipe is much less than standard pickles or relish, though. I will ask the lady I got the recipe from and see if she knows how long they will keep.

      Do any of you canners out there have any input?

      Thanks for the question. It is a good one.

      Fern

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    2. I too am a little worried about no processing. I process pickled okra and it has more vinegar and salt. May slide over and ask Patrice :)

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  4. I'm curious to know if you heard back from the lady you got the recipe from. I have a freezer is quickly filling with garden veggies and would love to can some this way. I have heard of doing jelly using this method but not okra. I'm going to give it a try though! My little family loves okra and I would love to save some freezer space! Enjoying your blog posts! And we are also Oklahomans - Westville. What a wonderful summer we have had for gardening here!! Abundantly blessed!

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  5. We got this recipe from a friend..She also gave us a quart that she put up in 2010 - four years ago. We opened, washed , battered and fried. It was delicious. Not quite as good as fresh from garden, but really close. Also fried up so pretty

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    1. We have eaten some of the okra we canned this way, Dorie, and it is very good. It doesn't follow standard canning practices, but the more I learn about canning, there are lots of folks out there that do things a little differently than what you find in standard canning books. Thank you very much for you input. The more we all know, the more informed decisions we can make for ourselves.

      Fern

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  6. I am a bit confused. At the beginning of this blog, in August 2013, you warned readers not to use this recipe. I read your statements from other canners who didn't think this was good. But in your last entry, July 2014, you said the okra was very good. So in light of both of these entries, do you recommend this recipe or not? I have planted more okra than usual this year and expect to harvest at least 200 pods per day beginning the last week of July, more than our freezer can handle.

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    1. Due to the canning recommendations of the above folks and standard canning practices recommended in canning books, I cannot recommend this recipe to the general public. That does not mean that I don't use it. I agree with Dorie, it does cook up very well and tastes good. It is not tough like frozen okra. You will have to decide what the best canning practices are for you and make your own choice.

      Thank you for your comment. Questions are always welcome. It sounds like you are going to have a bumper crop of okra this year. Good for you.

      Fern

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    2. Put it thru a water bath canner for 30 min and it comes out really good and there no chance of making you sick or spoiling

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    3. Thank you for sharing another technique.

      Fern

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  7. What type of vinegar do you use and do you use canning salt or regular house hold salt?

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    1. White distilled vinegar and non-iodized table salt. Thanks for the question.

      Fern

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    2. Table salt has additives to keep it from clumping. These make your liquid turn cloudy. Use only canning or kosher salt.

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    3. Thank you for the information. This is the salt we buy in bulk.

      Fern

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  8. I have been using this recipe for 4 years. Would not do it any other way. My recipe calls for 8 T of vinegar and 4 T of salt. I have tried the water bath, but it turn the okra brown and mushy. So I will continue to NOT process. It does sometimes turn out cloudy, but the water bath was more cloudy. I am putting up 2 gal right as I write this. We are still eating some I put up in 2011.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences. We had fried okra fresh out of the garden for lunch today. It's coming on strong and we sure like it.

      Fern

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  9. Do you use the water you boil it in to fill the jars?

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    1. Since I no longer recommend this recipe for use by the public, I will refrain from commenting on the water. This does not mean that we don't use this recipe ourselves, but since it doesn't follow approved canning practices, I cannot recommend a specific practice regarding the techniques discussed in this post.

      That being said, thank you for reading and commenting.

      Fern

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  10. I have been canning peach pickles, lime and dill pickles for several years. I make sure my jars, lids and the liquid and veggies or fruit are very hot. I do not use the water bath and the jars all seal. I believe all the water bath is for is to help the jars seal. Mine last for several years and the last jar opened is just as fresh and good as the first jar.

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    1. I know other folks that fix pickles and relish the same way you do, as do I in some instances. But I have to comment, for safety purposes, that it is not an approved technique. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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