Friday, July 10, 2015

Seed to Table Series-Okra

Welcome to our Summer Series,
Seed to Table.
Every Friday, we'll explore a different crop
that you can grow in your own garden.
Whether you're in mid-harvest, already looking ahead to your fall garden,
 or just thinking about growing your own,
we hope this series inspires you.
We'll begin with planting from seed or seedling,
and end up with a scratch recipe. 


Okra is one of the crops that grows best
in our hot, humid summers.
Don't ask me why, but it just loves the heat!

Okra seeds 1

These small, round seeds have the power
to fill your belly with something so wonderful,
you won't be able to get enough.
The bonus is that they are one of the easiest crops to grow.

If the temperatures are in the 80's or over,
you'll have no trouble watching these sprout right up.
There are very few pest problems as well.
At this size (a couple of weeks), they may develop aphids,
but once the plants get a bit bigger,
 (leaves the size of your hand),
the bugs don't bother them anymore.

Once flowers show themselves,
it won't be long until you are harvesting by the pound!

This prolific grower just keeps on comin'.
The more often you pick, the more it will produce.
This crop has been known to double in size in the same day.

For our purposes, they are picked at about 4 inches long.
That's the perfect length to fit into a pint-sized jar for pickling.
You can use larger okra, 
although they may taste a bit woody,
just adjust the size of your jar.
Before I tried this recipe, 
I had never eaten okra
or even wanted to eat okra!
Now, I'm totally sold on the stuff.
In fact, it's growing in my garden right now!

Cold Pack Okra
 1-2 jalepeno peppers, sliced (optional)
1/4 C white sugar
1 1/2 C distilled white vinegar
2 T kosher or pickling salt
1 1/2 t horseradish
3 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly cut
splash of water (about 4 T)

Peel garlic and smash to release oils.
Wash okra.
Wash and thinly slice peppers, discarding seeds and core.
Pack okra and peppers into jar lengthwise.
Add vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt and water to pot and bring to a simmer,
and then immediately turn off heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
Pour over veggies in jar and add horseradish.
(I sometimes use just red pepper flakes.)
Tighten lid and give a few firm shakes.
Allow to reach room temperature before placing in fridge.
Give them 3-4 days of pickling before eating.

Seed to Table Series
Sweet Potatoes

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