Okra Pickles


Photo Credit: GrowYourOwn.org

If you like okra but aren’t crazy about the texture of the cooked variety, than try this recipe for pickles, says Robin Rifkin and Lynne Snyder of the Health Promotion Council.  Okra pickles are crunchy but don’t have to marinate for long.

The Health Promotion Council partners with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Harvest program to bring nutrition workshops to food cupboards and gardens across the city.  City Harvest, one of several programs made possible by the proceeds of the Philadelphia Flower Show, provides fresh produce to those in need. Community gardeners receive vegetable starts from inmates in the Philadelphia Prison System, grow them and then donate the food to local shelters.

A few things about okra:

  • The popular stew that we call “gumbo” takes its name from an African word for okra.
  • Okra is a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Smaller pods that are 2 to 2-1/2 inches long are more tender.
  • Store for up to 3 days in a loosely closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. 

Recipe for Easy Okra Pickles                               Makes 6 Servings


1 pound small okra pods, scrubbed but not cut

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin           

1/4 cup white vinegar                           

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt, if desired

½ small onion, sliced thin

Black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. 
  2. Drop in the okra and carrots and cook for two minutes.  Drain and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir the vinegar, sugar and salt together until dissolved.
  4. Remove the vegetables from the ice water and add to the vinegar mixture. 
  5. Add the sliced onion.
  6. Season with pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
  7. Okra pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

 Helpful Recipe Hints

  • Add sliced okra to help thicken soups or stews.
  • Cook with tomatoes, citrus or vinegar—the acid helps to make the juices less slippery.
  • Bake a casserole of okra, tomatoes, corn kernels and cooked rice.

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