Update on Canning Okra – DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE

I have received several comments/questions about the Canning Okra post I did. Some of the comments expressed concern about how well the canned okra would keep since I did not put it through the water bath. I will include the comments below and then report the information I found out.

Since this is not put through a water bath, do you have any idea how long these will be good? Does the vinegar act as a type of pickling agent? Even so, pickles are put through a water bath, unless you go the lactose fermentation route. I love fried okra, so this would be a good way to have okra on hand, but I am worried about how long it would last.
This is the first year I have tried this so I don’t know how long it will keep. I have made relish and pickles that I don’t water bath and they are good for a year or more. The ratio of vinegar to water in the okra recipe is much less than standard pickles or relish, though. I will ask the lady I got the recipe from and see if she knows how long they will keep.
Do any of you canners out there have any input?
Thanks for the question. It is a good one.
Fern
I too am a little worried about no processing. I process pickled okra and it has more vinegar and salt. May slide over and ask Patrice 🙂

I’m curious to know if you heard back from the lady you got the recipe from. I have a freezer is quickly filling with garden veggies and would love to can some this way. I have heard of doing jelly using this method but not okra. I’m going to give it a try though! My little family loves okra and I would love to save some freezer space! Enjoying your blog posts! And we are also Oklahomans – Westville. What a wonderful summer we have had for gardening here!! Abundantly blessed!
I asked the Canned Quilter over at Hickory Holler what she thought about the recipe and here is my question and her response:

Hello CQ,
I have gotten some questions about the recipe for Canned Okra I have on my blog and I was wondering if you could give me an opinion. There are a few people that are concerned about how long the okra will keep without running it through a hot water bath. Would you have any concerns with the following recipe?

Canning Okra
1 gallon sliced okra 
2 tbsp. salt
6 tbsp. vinegar
1 cup water
Prepare jars, lids and rings. Place okra in a large pan. Mix vinegar, salt and water together. Pour over okra. Fill pan with enough water to cover okra. Bring to a full boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
Fill jars with okra. Pour enough liquid in jars to cover okra. Seal. No hot water bath. Just have everything hot and the liquid boiling. Put the rings on tight, cover with a towel and let them cool slowly and seal.
Thank you for your time. Fern
 
I saw this on your blog the other day. Salt and vinegar can both act as preservatives but the amounts seem really low for that purpose. The vinegar and salt are probably to cut the slime of the cut okra. However I would be really unlikely to use this recipe without hot water bathing it. I have pickled okra and canned okra in tomatoes but both were hot water bathed.I prefer to freeze my okra either plain or breaded and it dehydrates really well also. I know that some people are looking for alternatives to freezing and in that instance try dehydrating and I think you would have a better outcome and maybe safer.

Hope this helps, 
CQ

I also asked Patrice Lewis over at Rural Revolution her opinion. Here is my question and what she said:

 
Hi Patrice,
I did a post about canning okra for frying that did not include using the water bath. Some of my readers had concerns about how long it would keep. One of them recommended asking your opinion. I will be doing an update to the post reporting the opinions of people I have asked for input. Would you like to provide some information?
Here is the recipe:
1 gallon sliced okra 
2 tbsp. salt
6 tbsp. vinegar
1 cup water
Prepare jars, lids and rings. Place okra in a large pan. Mix vinegar, salt and water together. Pour over okra. Fill pan with enough water to cover okra. Bring to a full boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Fill jars with okra. Pour enough liquid in jars to cover okra. Seal. No hot water bath. Just have everything hot and the liquid boiling. Put the rings on tight, cover with a towel and let them cool slowly and seal.
Thank you for your time.

Fern

 
I’ve never cooked with (or even eaten) okra, but I consulted my canning bible (“Putting Food By”) and they recommend that okra ONLY be pressure-canned (not water-bath canned, and especially not “nothing” canned).  While there’s vinegar in your recipe, it’s not enough to pickle the okra.  Okra is low-acid and to preserve it safely, it must be hot-packed and pressure-canned, 25 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts, at 10 lbs (adjusted for altitude).
Remember, just because a jar seals doesn’t mean the food is safely processed inside.  It just means the jar sealed.  Nothing replaces heat when it comes to preservation.
Hope this helps!
Patrice


The lady I got the recipe from has not talked to her niece, who has used this recipe the most so I don’t have an updated recommendation from them. But due to the new information I have received, I NO LONGER RECOMMEND THIS RECIPE AS IS. 

I plan to try canning some okra and see if it still fries up okay or if the canning process makes it too mushy to fry. I will let you know how it turns out. I do not want to share any recipes that will result in unsafe food.

Thank you all for chiming in and sharing your views. It helps all of us learn better ways to preserve our food in a safe and tasty manner.
Until next time – Fern 

5 thoughts on “Update on Canning Okra – DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE

  1. I use the pressure canner for okra. it does get mushy, but I make okra patties with it using an egg and enough cornmeal to thicken it enough to drop by spoonfuls into hot oil in a skillet. They are very good and almost like normal fried okra.

  2. You are the first person I have heard from that has used the pressure canner. It is great to know that this works well without the mushiness I thought would come from the longer term pressure canning. Thank you very much for sharing!!Fern

  3. I canned okra last year using the pressure canner as recommended by most Department of Agriculture sites. It turned out wonderful and is not mushy at all. Just drain, toss in corn meal and fry. Yum Yum. I only have one jar left from last year, so I plan on canning more the same way next week (August, 2014)

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