I thought I hated okra until I tried it pickles

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The first time I met okra, we didn’t agree. In fact, it took almost ten years for us to be ready to meet again – and that was also a fragile meeting. It wasn’t until after an unexpected third encounter, about a year ago, that we finally got to make it happen. That’s because I ate pickled okra.

That fateful confrontation was impromptu. I was six months pregnant with my daughter and crave pickles from morning to evening. But when we ran out of traditional dill pickles, the only ingredient I could use for a DIY pickle at home was fresh okra that my partner had bought at the farmer’s market just hours before.

My reluctance to reunite okra was strong. Although I am far from a picky eater, the texture of okra was not quite right for me even though I tried it fried, roasted, fried and boiled. But at that moment, my need for a spicy sour crunch overcame any hesitation. So I called my partner, a professional chef and restaurateur, to show me a simple and quick recipe for pickled okra because being hungry during pregnancy is hungry hunger (100 times).

Here’s how to make it:

I used about 1 pound fresh whole okra. I arranged them in mason jars as closely as possible with the stems pointed upright, and stuffed the containers over the edge. After that, peel off 2 cloves garlic and add them to the jar with 2 tsp. dill seedsAnd the 2 tsp. kosher saltAnd the ½ tsp. whole black pepper. In a small saucepan, I brought 1½ cups white vinegar and 1½ cups water to a boil, then pour it into the jars stuffed with okra, leaving an inch vertical space in the top of the jar and seal them tightly. I let them cool to room temperature, then stored them in the fridge, where they continued tasting more pickles, for about a month.

Equal parts of crunchy and sour okra, the pickled okra was like okra I had never tasted before. To say I’m pleased is an understatement – you’d think I won the lottery. I mean, in my sixth month of pregnancy, anything could have made me cry, but the fact that I overcame an aversion to food that I had hated since childhood was a big deal. Now, I keep pickled okra in my fridge for regular eating. I love adding it to farro or quinoa dishes along with roasted sweet potatoes, fresh watercress, black beans, avocado, and/or roasted cauliflower. My daughter loves them too, which is a big win for our house.

So, my apologies for okra, which I may have misunderstood the first time I tried it. But hey, they say the third time is charming, right?

Originally appeared on Bon Appétit

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