Nothing Wasted

Field of okra

When a Burundian family left for another state earlier this month, their community garden plot of okra was ready for harvest. Having never eaten okra before, I wasn’t sure what to do with these vegetables. After two weeks of trying to get church members to take bags home with them (including recipes last week), today I took a new approach.

Weeding and harvesting

During our community gardening morning, after we transplanted a few more trees and spent a couple hours weeding other plots, we picked the remaining okra. All dozen volunteers were invited to take a handful home. The rest came back to chez moi.

Farm fresh

Frida bag full

OMG this is coming out of my ears

A few minutes of Google research and empowerment later, pickled okra it was. My friend Diane — who runs two incredible foodie blogs — says this is the way to eat the green veggie. She’s been giving me insightful cooking advice for years; I’m taking her word for it.


So spicy, I’m blurry!

An afternoon of pickling

With a minimal investment in canning supplies and pickling salt, I canned 16 giant jars of spicy garlic pickled okra.* Oh yeah, each jar includes jalapenos and garlic because I love spicy, garlicy anything. Why not okra?

I bought some labels I plan to stamp with the garden’s information, and after these babies are done picklin’, I am going to sell them at church and at the Tempe Market on Mill to raise funds for next season’s seeds. Voila.

When life hand’s you a field of okra, you might as well make the best of it. And pour yourself a nice glass of metaphorical lemonade in the process.


*Again, perhaps the worst possible time of year to spend in the kitchen with giant pots of boiling anything.

17 Replies to “Nothing Wasted”

  1. I just watched an episode of Andrew Zimmern in which he had some kind of African soup made from chopped Okra. It was positively slimy.

  2. We don’t have anything like that, so I can’t help you with recipes.
    Well, picking the okra, wash and cook them may be hard, now that you’ve done all the work I guess you will find lots of people ready to buy from you!

  3. Wow someone else that’s never had okra! The girl at work is always talking about her Grandma’s fried okra. I love the idea of selling it to make money for more seeds.

  4. Look at you and all your pickles! I really have to get over my fear of canning (well, if I had anything to can, it would probably be more compelling); you and Finny make it look so wonderful.

    And your pesto! Isn’t fresh pesto the most beautiful color? My garden triumph this year was a couple of decent batches, which was totally better than nothing. πŸ™‚

  5. That is A LOT OF OKRA!

    Pickled is wonderful and a great way to use it. Living in the south most of my adult life, I really love fried okra, too. It is great skewered and grilled with shrimp, boiled with tomatoes and vidalia onions, and in veggie soup.

    I’m glad there will be okra in AZ!

  6. That’s awesome! I’ve always thought I’d love to have a big garden and can the surplus… but why does it have to be that right when the crops come in, needing to be canned, it’s the hottest week and no way do you want to be in a steamy kitchen?! πŸ™‚ Now I’m dying to try pickled okra. If you were local, I’d buy a jar for sure!

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