Canning okra means it can be enjoyed all year round. Even if you are a beginner at canning foods, okra is quite easy to preserve.
You need to make sure you only can fresh and young okra that feels very tender. Don’t use okra that is blemished or spotted.
Okra is great for canning due to a large amount of hollowness inside the pods, which fill up with the pickle juices and work like a marinade adding plenty of flavors not just to the inside but the outside of the okra too.
How To Can Okra?
When it comes to canning okra, first of all, you want to prepare your lids and jars and ensure they are sterilized. You will then boil water, salt, sugar, and vinegar together. Prep your okra and place your favorite pickling spices in a bowl together and stir. Fresh lemon slices, garlic, and spices go into the hot preserving jars. Fill the jars right up with the vinegar mixture and screw on the lids.
Prepping Your Jars And Lids
It Is important to ensure there are no germs or dust in the jars before you place food into them.
You can boil the jars in a pot using a steamer rack placed at the bottom. The water level needs to be sitting at the rim of your jars.
You can also use a tea towel if you don’t have a steamer rack. This is to avoid the jars touching the bottom of the pot where they can break from the excess heat.
Bring the water to a boil and let it go for around 10 minutes.
The lids can be placed into a bowl and soaked in boiling water for the same amount of time.
Ensure the jars and lids are completely dry before using.
Preparing The Okra
Firstly you will need to boil your vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan and let it come to a complete boil as you want the salt and sugar to dissolve. You can then reduce the heat but keep the mix warm.
While your water is heating, prep your okra and the spices you want to use. You will need around 1 and ½ pounds of okra which needs to be fully cleaned and the stem ends trimmed. All of your spices need to be stirred together.
Filling The Jars
Now you can lay out your jars onto a clean towel. Ensure you use canning tongs as they will be very hot.
Place the jars onto your towel, which is important as placing the jars right on the counter can shock them and cause breakage.
Cut 2-3 slices of lemon and place them at the bottom of your sterilized jars but only once they are fully dry.
You can add a tablespoon of your fresh spice mix and a teaspoon of minced garlic or one peeled garlic clove to the bottom of the jar.
Adding Your Cooked Okra
You can now add your cooked okra into the jars by alternating them from the stem up and then stem down so the okra will fit into the jars well.
You want the top of your okra to sit about an inch from the jar rim.
Now you can pour your vinegar mix over the okra filling. Leave about a ¼ inch on top to allow space for the air bubbles.
Okra is hollow and filled with air. Once the okra is poked out with your knife, air will be released from inside the okra.
Sometimes you will find the liquid will get lower once the air has been released. If this happens, you can just top the jar up with more liquid
Now you simply wipe the jar rims and screw the lids on tightly and bring the okra-filled jars to a boil in the pot you had used for the jars.
Bring the jars to a boil and let them go for 10-15 minutes. Once again, avoid putting the jars directly onto the counter.
Use a towel or rack to avoid cracking. Now you can wait for the jars to cool. As they are cooling, you will hear a popping sound, which is normal.
This is just the vacuum seal being created by the air cooling in your preserving jars. The lid pulls down, which creates the seal.
If you have a few jars that have not been appropriately sealed, you can place them in the fridge once cooled off.
It is best to let them sit for a day before you go ahead and eat the contents.
Read about how to freeze gumbo next.
Frequently Asked Questions About Canning Okra
Can You Can Okra Then Fry It Later?
Heat your jars and their lids as normal canning guidelines state. You then fill the jars leaving ½ an inch of space, then seal off. Now turn the can upside down and leave the cans alone to sit for 2 days. Once you want to fry your okra, you just need to dump the jar into your strainer but do not rinse the okra.
How Long Can Canned Okra Be Stored For?
The general recommendation is one year. It is mainly a quality issue. After one year, it is said that the food isn’t off or bad; it just loses its health benefits and doesn’t taste as fresh.