This was our last week here for Farmers Market. But, I did pick up some more okra so I could have another try at pickled okra. The first go round went pretty well. Although I was a little disappointed at first as the flavor was pretty weak. But now, two months later, they are pretty good – good enough I want to do it again. I could not find an NT recipe for lacto-fermented okra, so I had to improvise. I used the basic pickle (cucumber) recipe from Nourishing Traditions for the”brine” and searched around for pickled okra recipes to get an idea on the spices.
- About a pound of small okra
- 1 jalapeno – seeded & quartered lengthwise
- 2 cloves garlic peeled & halved
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 cup filtered water
- 4 tbsp whey
Wash the okra well and place in a quart-sized mason jar. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the okra, adding more water if necessary to cover the okra.The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.
As I mentioned, it takes several weeks for these to really develop their flavor, so you have to be patient. And the flavor is not at all like the commercial variety, where the okra is pickled in vinegar. But once they have aged properly, they are very good – at least if you like okra. Now a bit from Sally Fallon on lacto-fermentation:
Lacto-fermentation is an artisanal craft that does not lend itself to industrialization. Results are not always predictable. For this reason, when the pickling process became industrialized, many changes were made that rendered the final product more uniform and more saleable but not necessarily more nutritious. Chief among these was the use of vinegar for the brine, resulting in a product that is more acidic and not necessarily beneficial when eaten in large quantities; and of subjecting the final product to pasteurization, thereby effectively killing all the lactic-acid-producing bacteria and robbing consumers of their beneficial effect on digestion. Nourishing Traditions, p. 90.