What to Do with Okra: Pickle It!

Learn how to pickle your own okra, a recent mystery basket ingredient on the Chopped Teen Tournament finale.
By Angela Carlos

The final round of Chopped Teen Tournament wrapped up this week with the one lucky winner walking away with bragging rights and a $25,000 prize. Each of the three rounds of mystery baskets had their surprises, but our eyes focused on the entree basket.

Sure, we enjoyed watching the contestants incorporate confetti popcorn into their merguez and mussels appetizer, and later we reveled in seeing the final two break down a gelatin fishbowl for their dessert course. But who would have thought that okra would be the star of the entree round, outshining prime rib, funnel cake and even the candied dried crabs?

Okra is versatile. Stew it, steam it, fry it — you name it. But not every cooking method is ideal for this vegetable because it has a gooey secret. Kamryn was spot-on with her tempura fried okra. Similarly, Eliana’s breaded and fried okra was a hit as well. Unfortunately, Lyanna’s Jamaican callaloo stew made with a base of the pureed vegetable highlighted its gooeyness in not quite the best way.

There is still one method for preparing okra that none of our contestants tried: quick pickling. Pickled okra is a favorite. The briny taste pairs perfectly with the texture of okra, and when you aren’t hampered with a countdown clock, there is plenty of time for pickling.

We don’t have the patience for a traditional pickling method when it comes to our okra, so we use this time-cutting technique: Bring your favorite brine to a boil. You can add aromatics to customize your pickles. Once the brine is boiling, reduce it to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to infuse the flavors. Pour the hot brine over the okra, cool and enjoy. It's as simple as that!

Photo by Angela Carlos
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