Small pod okraAt Rudy’s Happy Patch Market, it’s fresh okra season! Most farmers and gardeners plant okra in the spring and fall, but okra can actually produce pods year-round.

Perry Wellness Center staff member Mulkey McMichael is a bit of an expert on okra. He notes, “For years, when I was my church choir director, I canned pickled okra as a Christmas gift for choir members and others. It is tasty! After I presented a pin of pickles to Stuart and Pam Perry, Stuart asked me to do an instructional group at the center.”

He continues, “I discovered long ago that the smaller pods have a better spice absorption and I can put more young pod okra in a pint jar.” Small pod okra is more in demand now, and local farmer, Bruce Driver, has supplied the market with a late summer supply.

Mulkey offers further tips for those new to okra preparation. Select the freshest, small pods. In most cases, they are laid out in open bins, so it is easy to choose the desired pods. If you are making okra pickles, find a recipe that reflects the amount of sweetness or spiciness you prefer. Once the pickles are made, they must remain in the dark, untouched, for six months.

After spotting the latest okra delivery, Mulkey admits that he was tempted to make a dozen pints of the tasty pickles immediately. Then he remembered that there is a current shortage of glass jars and rings.

With a sigh, he acknowledges, “It may be time to postpone my okra pickles for another year.”

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