The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

Masthead header

Sea Bean Pickles + Spicy Okra Pickles

Sea Bean Pickles

Do you remember the scene in Mad Men where Betty Draper’s father sprinkled salt over his ice cream? And how Betty’s daughter Sally thought it was weird but he explained that he had a salt tooth? I am the same. I have, embarrassingly, been known to eat anchovies straight out of the jar. When I am in my 60s and have terrible blood pressure issues, I will probably regret this. For now, I try to justify the habit with lots of walking.

Spicy Okra Pickles!

Spicy Okra Pickles

Pickles are the perfect indulgence for a person with a salt tooth. And they are a classic ritual of mid- and late-summer. They are both a celebration of everything abundant about the season and an homage to its transience. And pickles are so simple and so easy to make that you may question the merits of a tame supermarket pickle after making your own.

Sea Bean Pickles!

Sea Beans go by many names: their Latin name is Salicornia, but they’re also known as sea asparagus, glasswort, samphire and pickleweed. Hank Shaw has an awesome summary of this lovely, salt-loving plant over at Honest Food.

And if you’re averse to okra, these pickles may just be what tips the scales in their favor for you. I think okra was born to be pickled.

These Sea Bean Pickles and Spicy Okra Pickles are part of the July Seasonal Food Guide.


1/2 pound sea beans, rinsed
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup water
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

Note: because sea beans are naturally salty, no further salt is needed for the pickling process.

Bring vinegar, water, sugar and spices to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat.

Meanwhile, remove any brown parts from the sea beans.

Thoroughly sanitize and rinse the jar you’ll use and keep it hot for when you pour the brine in. Pack the sea beans in the jar. Tuck the garlic cloves in. Pour the hot brine over the beans. Let the jar sit, uncovered, until it has cooled, about an hour. Cover and refrigerate. (Because these are quick pickles, they’ll need to be kept refrigerated.)


1 pound okra, rinsed
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup water
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1.5 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds

Bring vinegar, water, salt and spices to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat.

Thoroughly sanitize and rinse the jar you’ll use and keep it hot for when you pour the brine in. Pack the okra snugly in the jar. Tuck the garlic cloves in. Pour the hot brine over the beans. Let the jar sit, uncovered, until it has cooled, about an hour. Cover and refrigerate. (Because these are quick pickles, they’ll need to be kept refrigerated.)

  • Tine - Can’t find okra in Belgium… :(
    But I loooove the saltiness of sea beans!ReplyCancel

  • Sasa - Hello m’dear! I think that stuff is what we served in a restaurant in the UK and called samphire, lovely stuff. So happy to have a few moments to go blog-hopping and you KNOW you’re one of the first I visit!ReplyCancel

  • la domestique - I’ve never had pickled okra but it looks fantastic! I love a hot and spicy homemade brine.ReplyCancel

  • Isabelle @ Crumb - Pickled okra. I’m intrigued!
    I’ve always had issues with the way okra goes all mushy and gelatinous when overcooked, so this recipe sounds like it’s just my speed, seeing as the okra isn’t really cooked at all. Also, I like pickles. A lot.
    Must give this a try as soon as we work our way through the giant jar of Costco pickles in the fridge (which, in our pickle-loving household, will be approximately 2 weeks)ReplyCancel

  • Season with Reason - An okra recipe I’ve never tried – hooray! Am thinking about pickling green beans for an upcoming post – we had them in bloody marys at Spotted Pig the other weekend and it was amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food - I’m a huge fan of okra… though E has issues with the consistency… but gosh darn it the flavors are wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - I share your salt tooth. And pickles are one of my favorite indulgences (I call it an indulgence, since I can consume an entire jar in one go.) I look forward to expanding my repertoire with this recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Heather @opgastronomia - I play for team savory as well, and love pickled okra! How long do you wait after brining/refrigerating to eat for ideal pickle deliciousness?ReplyCancel

  • Heather @opgastronomia - Oh, and the sea beans! The internet tells me their appearance at NYC greenmarkets has passed this season, but my eyes are now open for these exotic little guys. What’s the season for them in SF?ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley - @Lynda: I too can eat an entire jar in one sitting! And in fact, there are only three little pickled okra left!
    @Heather: In a perfect world, you would let them brine for a couple days. In reality, I could hardly keep my hands off of them and now, three days after they’ve been made, they’re mostly gone.
    And as for the sea beans, they have a really long season on the west coast. I’ve had them all the way into October. It’s surprising that they’re so fleeting out there! (Maybe they don’t like the hot weather?)ReplyCancel

  • renee@sweetsugarbean - My mom and sister make loads of pickles each summer, but alas, okra nor sea beans are abundant here. These look smashing though. My favourite is when you order a Caesar and the bartender puts pickled asparagus spears or green beans in the drink. Yum!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) - I love okra and I love pickles but I have never thought to combine the two and make pickled okra. Bookmarking this to try real soon.ReplyCancel

  • Heather @opgastronomia - Our summer climate is definitely way extreme compared to yours. Will be in SF in October, save me some pickles! :)ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie - Gorgeous little things these sea beans are! I have much more of a salt tooth than a sweet tooth (which probably explains my total fail at baking!) so I totally get you there. I pickled fiddleheads a couple months ago and loved them. I can’t deny I would love these, too. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Erica Julson - ooo yummy! I love okra but I’ve never had it pickled! I bet the sea beans were great too. I’ve never seen those, where did you buy them?ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane - I also share your salt tooth, and will take your word for the okra. Grilling it is the one preparation I can manage to stomach. But, a whole new world could open up with pickling (as it usually does)!ReplyCancel

  • kankana - Coming from India, my idea of pickle is very different from what i see here:) They looks light and less spicy and super quick to make.ReplyCancel

  • NicoleD - Your pickles look wonderful. I haven’t seen Mad Men yet, but it is now available for streaming on Netflix! My brother-in-law recommended taking vacation days for a Mad Men marathon :)ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Wow! I absolutely cannot WAIT to make those okra pickles! I discovered pickled okra when traveling in the south…but it never occurred to me to take our calm minnesota okra and spice it up. Thanks ever so for the recipe and the ideas.ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - I have a serious salt tooth as well. I like to think it’s balanced out by all the sweating I do while running…but I’ll be right there next to you on high blood pressure meds :P

    These pickles sound delicious! I love non-traditional pickling veggies.ReplyCancel

  • kickpleat - I’ve been a salt-tooth since I can remember – from drinking the pickle jar juice to adding salt to ice cream. Guilty. Me and pickles are tight – yet I’ve never tried okra. I almost bought some sea beans last weekend, but decided against it at the last minute. The pickled sea beans look amazing and I’ll try to pick some up soon and give them a try.ReplyCancel

  • PSherry - Tine, I live in Switzerland and find okra at the Indian stores and at an Indian grocery in Boston that I had my first pickled okra. Absolutely loved them.ReplyCancel

  • Tori (@eat-tori) - I’ve got a salt tooth too. Caramel is only really appealing to me with a good kick of sea salt over the top. And I think these would be just the thing to perk up some scallops on a sweet corn puree. Nb, have just found your blog and have spent the best part of an hour swooning. Thank you for the escapism!ReplyCancel

  • Robert - I love dry roasted okra with just a sprinkling of salt. I think the pickled version would be divine too so shall have to give that a go (if you pop it into a water bath for 10 to 20 minutes do you suppose it would compromise the texture/taste (just thinking to save for future use)?ReplyCancel

    • Kimberley - Hi Robert –

      I have never processed pickles in a water bath for precisely that reason: I don’t want to compromise texture/crunch. I’ll be curious to know how yours turn out if you decide to can them.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I made a batch of okra pickles this afternoon — they’re cooling right now! they were super easy to pull together and I am so excited to try them… just have to wait until they cool down a little!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen - In thanks for your wonderful photos & recipes, here’s a link gift back to you. it might help your salt-loving heart rest easy:

    • Kimberley - Thanks so much for this awesome article, Eileen! You’ve just made my night.ReplyCancel

  • margot - Pickled Okra ReceipeReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *