Mammy’s Delicious Pickled Okra

Mammy’s Delicious Pickled Okra

Pickled okra is a great snack to have on hand for unexpected guests, sundowners, or family picnics.  Not only is it light and healthy, it is also positively addictive.  It’s very difficult to stop at just one.

As a Southerner, I practically jump for joy when I find gorgeous fresh okra in the market.  This dainty green vegetable is one of the South’s most popular vegetables and is also widely used in my husband’s home country, Côte d’Ivoire.

Moreover, okra is low in calories and very nutritious.  It is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and is also rich in dietary fibre.  So, okra is a very healthy snack.

Mammy's Delicious Pickled Okra |
Fresh okra is such a treat! Look for modest-sized pods for this recipe. They tend to be more tender and less stringy.

Why Pickle Okra?

There are many delicious ways to prepare okra.  However, pickled okra happens to be one of my favorites.

I had practically forgotten about pickled okra — which I haven’t made in 30 years — until I saw abundant supplies of gorgeous okra at the greengrocer.  My husband was buying some for an African sauce.  However, I couldn’t let him have all the fun!

I quickly scanned my mental database and realized I had never made my family pickled okra, a classic Southern cocktail food.  I called this recipe Mammy’s pickled okra, because it is an old-fashioned recipe my maternal great grandmother (Mammy) would have loved.

Mammy was an excellent cook.  And, as a good wife and mother of her time, June and August — especially August — were spent putting up nature’s bounty for the long winter ahead.

Mammy's Delicious Pickled Okra |
Mammy’s Pickled Okra is a favorite at cocktail parties and is also an excellent addition to a gourmet picnic.

Nowadays, we get fresh produce year round — particularly in Johannesburg, where we are blessed with a Mediterranean climate and a long growing season.

So, pickling and preserving have gone out of fashion.  While this is understandable, it is also very unfortunate.  The flavors, textures, and nutritional profiles, of preserved foods are unique.  They are also delicious.

Just imagine a world without kosher dills or cornichons!  If we don’t preserve our pickling methods and traditions, our grandchildren could grow up in such a world.  What a shame that would be!


Pickles and preserves are not just ways of extending the harvest, they are also the world’s first convenience foods.  As a busy modern woman, coming home from the office to surprise cocktail guests is a challenge.  However, a few jars of preserves — pickled cauliflower, okra, olives, and the like — in your pantry can be an absolute lifesaver.

Although this recipe is as old as time, it is not time consuming or complicated.  All that is required of the cook is a little patience — to allow the pickles to cure — and your family can enjoy gorgeous okra year-round.  This pickle, prepared now, would make a gorgeous and delicious addition to your holiday buffets and open houses.  Give it a try.  I’m certain you will love it as much as I do.  Bon appétit!


Mammy’s Delicious Pickled Okra

Mammy's Delicious Pickled Okra |
Jeanette Marie
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Prep Time:  20 minutes Servings:  20

Pickled okra is a nutritious and delicious cocktail snack. Perfect for sundowners or for your next family picnic. Comes together in 30 minutes and can be enjoyed for up to a year.

  • 5 500 ml canning jars, with rings and lids
  • 1 kg (2 lb) fresh okra, washed and trimmed
  • 5 fresh red chilies
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 7 1/2 tablespoons natural sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed

  1. Sterilize the jars, rings and lids. Most modern dishwashers have a setting for sterilization. Otherwise, there are excellent guidelines for sterilization here.
  2. Place 1 chili pepper and 1 garlic clove in each of the jars.
  3. Pack okra into the hot jars.
  4. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar, water, salt, and mustard seed to the boil in a medium saucepan.
  5. Once the salt has dissolved, ladle the hot liquid over the okra in the jars and seal with the ring and lid.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to simmering, and plunge the filled and sealed jars into the water -- ensuring that it covers the lids. Leave for 10 minutes. Then remove the jars to a clean towel.
  7. Once the jars have thoroughly cooled, check the lids. If they are convex, they are properly sealed. Store away from sunlight for 8 weeks.
  8. Serve your pickles with your favorite nibbles or picnic food and pass around the toothpicks!

Canning is not complicated. It is simply a question of following a few simple rules. If you have never preserved or pickled before, it is worthwhile checking out these guidelines.

Nutrition label for Mammy’s Delicious Pickled Okra

2 thoughts on “Mammy’s Delicious Pickled Okra”

  • Jeannette, thank you for the recipe! We live in New Orleans area and okra not a stranger in local cooking. Some people say, our local soup gumbo must have okra in.

    • Only a pleasure! I hope you enjoy it as much as a pickle as I’m sure you do in gumbo. The interesting thing is that okra’s texture is completely different when it is pickled. It’s actually crunchy and very addictive!

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