Monday, July 13, 2009

Canning Okra

As an Iowa girl who never got outside of the midwest, I was 20 years old before I even heard of okra. When I was finally exposed to it, I liked it enough that I had to try growing it. It turns out that it actually grows quite well in Iowa. Though I occasionally have people ask me, "what is that?"

Growing it myself is the only way to get fresh okra here. Though I have seen frozen and canned okra in the grocery store, I have never seen fresh okra at the farmers market or in the produce section of the grocery store.

Since vegetables are low- acid, they have to be processed in a pressure canner. Okra can be canned by itself, but I am more likely to can it with tomatoes. I can eat this as is, add corn to it, or add it to soups.

To can okra, boil it for 2 minutes and drain. Fill hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. If desired, add 1/2 tsp canning salt to pint jars or 1 tsp to quart jars. Cover with boiling water. Process using the pressure canner method. Process pints for 25 minutes, or quarts for 40 minutes.

Here is the recipe that I use for okra and tomatoes.

1 quart sliced okra
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
cayenne pepper to taste
2 tsp canning salt (optional)

Combine all ingredient and simmer till soft. Fill hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Add enough boiling water to cover. Process using the pressure canner method. Process pints for 30 minutes, or quarts for 35 minutes.


  1. Thank you Ms Charlotte for posting on okra! I like the tomato and okra recipe.

    We just recently went to our local Farm Bureau, and the girl checking us out said that she hadn't even heard of okra before she moved to the south. Momma asked her if she had ever tried it fried in cornmeal. The girl said no and that she would leave the okra for us to grow and eat!

  2. The first time I ever had okra, it was fried. I love it that way, but I try not to do too much frying,

  3. I found your blog recently and you lured me out quickly with your okra-talk. I love okra! I prefer to preserve it by freezing so the ooziness/sliminess doesn't get out of control, but combining it with tomatoes is a good idea, too!

  4. Charlotte, I applaud your grown up taste buds. LOL You can have my okra.

  5. I recently canned some okra for the first time. The water in the jars turned red. Is that normal?

  6. No. I dont really have an explanation for that one.

  7. Living in Tennessee, okra is a summer time staple. Something about fresh okra right out of the garden can't be beat. One way to stretch a meal (I discovered this cooking for a crowd on a wagon train) is to fry okra, green tomatoes, summer squash, and Videlia onions together. OMG, oh so good. I use 3 parts cornmeal to 1 part flour, and of course salt and pepper to taste.
    Paulette East Tennessee

  8. I have been looking for okra recipes as I can so many different things with tomatoes. I recently tried a canned tomato, okra, corn, and onion item from our local supermarket and it was, well, okay and I am sure you understand this.

    In planning my garden I always try something different each year and have a space dedicated for that. Okra is my project this year and I have some I will try to start from seed to see if I can get it into the garden before the tap root exceeds my expectations.

    I am very excited about the opportunities and recipes available for this vegetable and hope to have great things come from the. I am an old Iowa girl and still there and the garden is something I did with my grandparents, father, children, and now my grandchildren.

    One of the best things about this project is that you can reap the rewards all year long and I would appreciate any other okra recipes you would like to recommend.

    Have a wonderful year and thanks again,

    Susan in Madison County

  9. Try this with your okra seeds (it works!)
    Soak your seeds in bleach for 30 minutes and then rinse, then plant where you please. This process helps the seed to soften quicker and in just a few days you will see growth. I saw growth in just 3 days this year and my okra is just fabulous this year.

  10. I didn't see pounds of pressure listed, but on some other sites I found 11 pounds.

  11. The water in my okra turned red too. Turns out my stainless steel canner has an aluminum lock valve and the okra reacted with it.

  12. The same thing happened to me. Is the okra safe to eat?


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