Brinkley Farms got themselves a lady friend… and she’s adorable. You’ll often find me pouring over the southern hospitality and drawls of the Brinkley Farms market boys. But, this past Saturday at the Durham Farmers’ Market this vendor shot me a huge smile as I walked by. I instantly knew I wouldn’t be passing up their Creedmor grown okra. Fresh, green, and beautiful, I scooped up 4 pints to play with. Pickled okra, the perfect southern treat. Loving the flavor combination of the tarragon and vinegar, I decided to experiment here with tarragon and fresh dill. Herby goodness delivered.
Slimy pickled okra… the horror! In pickling okra there is always the fear of slimy pickled okra. Normally I don’t water bath process with the hopes of avoiding the slime. I was recently invited to participate as a judge in the upcoming Stone Brothers‘ Piedmont Pickle Pageant. Discussing the ins and outs of the contest, the pageant convener decided it was only appropriate that we do a little pickle tasting. First up, water bath canned pickled okra. I admit, I initially jumped to slimy conclusions. But, the texture wasn’t slimy at all and I figured, “hell, maybe I should try canning them again”. I present to you slime free tarragon & dill okra pickles!
Also known as “lady fingers”, okra has always been a bit of a mystery to me. The texture, the sliminess, the odd shape? The first time I actually enjoyed eating okra was at an Indian restaurant in Ithaca, NY. Bhindi Masala. Yum! A few things I and maybe you didn’t know about okra: (1) it may/or may not (depending on your peer reviewed sources) provide some benefits for those with diabetes. “Okra has been used in some traditional cultures for generations to help stabilize blood sugar levels.” Curious… That being said, all the modern studies where the theory was tested on rodents used okra powder/seeds or soaked okra in water. Okra water? Eww. Ok, for another fun okra fact, (2) “in Louisiana, the Créoles learned from slaves the use of okra (gumbo) to thicken soups and it is now an essential in Créole Gumbo.” 🙂
Walking around the Durham Farmers’ Market it is evident that the peak season for okra in central North Carolina is right now. Every farmer and their neighbor is peddling lady fingers as of late. Last Saturday morning I gave in to the beautiful mixed display of green and red okra harvested from Ever Laughter Farm located nearby in Hillsborough, NC. The best thing about a mixture is the pretty purple brine the okra produces.