Let’s just get this out of the way: The fermented okra turned out pretty slimy.* But if you have no strong aversion to okra goo, then you’ll love it! (Reassuring, no?) The process is amazing in its simplicity, as it turns crisp okra pods into a tangy, tender snack that will keep for months in the refrigerator. It tastes similar to okra pickled with vinegar, but wins the preservation contest (if there were one) because it’s easier to make and imparts all the beneficial bacteria inherent in fermentation.
My go-to fermenting resources (Wild Fermentation and Nourishing Traditions) offered no guidance on okra in particular, but I figured the Nourishing Traditions recipe for pickled cucumbers would work just as well. Luckily Brittany has fermented everything, so I turned to her on day 2 when there was none of the telltale bubbly activity. My guess is the viscous brine inhibits the bubbling.
I started with a brine of salt (1/4 cup), water (2 cups) and whey (1/2 cup) , to which I added two seeded jalapenos, several garlic cloves, and about two tablespoons of mustard seed. (If you don’t have whey, just make a saltier brine. Want to know more? I explain this a bit more in depth in the post about fermented beets.) I made sure the pods were submerged to prevent mold and covered the crock with a tea towel. I tasted the pods each day, and on day 3 I decided they were tasty, although the flavors continue to evolve in the refrigerator.
*Edited to add: It’s been three days since I transferred the okra to the refrigerator, and I feel like my characterization of “slimy okra” might have been off-putting and not really fair. I’m snacking on it and noticed it’s not slimy at all. It’s the brine that is slightly slimy, and you don’t have to drink the brine, thankfully.