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Lacto-fermented vegetables are pickled in a simple brine of water, salt, and sometimes whey, plus spices as you like — no vinegar.

Recipe by Karen Killebrew, adapted from Frog Bottom Farm
(1 pint – doubles easily)

Ingredients:
as many okra (washed and stems cut off) as will fit in a pint jar
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed with the broad side of a chef’s knife and peeled
½ tablespoon sea salt or pickling salt (any salt without anti-caking agents)
2 tablespoons whey
½ cup + water
any spices or seasonings you like – we like red pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, garlic, and mustard seed

Instructions:
Wash the okra and stuff it, along with the garlic, into your pint jar. Pack it in there really tight; you don’t want any pieces to float above the brine when you add it. Make sure there’s about an inch of headroom between the top of the okra and the top of the jar.
Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over the okra. Gently turn the jar back and forth during the first day or so of fermenting, to help the salt dissolve.)
Add a bit more water if necessary to cover the okra completely; lacto-fermentation is an anaerobic process, and if any vegetables are exposed above the brine, you risk either mold or mushy vegetables.
Cover and keep at room temperature for 3-4 days, until bubbles begin to form and the okra is as sour as you like it. Taste it after 2 days; if you like how it tastes, put it in the fridge. If you want it to be more sour, give it another day or two before putting it in the fridge. Lasts several months.

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