Sweet and Sour Stewed Okra (makes 2 quarts)
This is a dish for the last days of the September harvest when you know that the produce in the baskets on the counter is trying to stare down its “use-by” date, and you can’t bear the thought of losing any of it, but you have already made all the tomato sauce that you will need for the winter. It is made both sweet and tart by the balsamic vinegar and can be used in a variety of ways:
• on its own as a room temperature knife and fork antipasto
• heated and used as the base of vegetable sauce topping for rice or grains.
• add shrimp, crabmeat or chunks firm white fish to make a gumbo
• add diced, cooked sweet potatoes, peanuts and kale or collard greens for an African twist
If you prefer a sweeter result, add your preferred sweetener to taste. I find that a bit of agave nectar goes a very long way!
10-12 medium size ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 large white onion, chopped
6 Italian frying peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 c whole basil leaves
1 lb okra pods (stem ends trimmed)
½ tsp salt
¼ c (or more to taste) white balsamic vinegar
Place tomatoes, onion and garlic in a stock pot or large saucepan. Bring to a boil, add the basil, okra and salt. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the okra is cooked through. Remove the lid and cook briskly to reduce the liquid to desired consistency. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar, cover and let cool. Reheat to serve or transfer to small freezer jars or bags and freeze for later use.