Peter Hoffman recently announced that his wonderful restaurant, Savoy, will be closing as of June 18th.  As one of the foremost farm-to-table restaurants, New Yorkers will certainly miss this landmark, but Hoffman’s promise of reopening in the fall with a new name and a more informal vibe sounds promising. And he still has Back Forty. (I’m there often).

When writing The Complete Organic Pregnancy I reached out to him for a pregnancy-themed recipe. He sent me a fantastic pickled okra recipe. Five and a half years later, I’m still not sure which is better–the pickles or the fun anecdote that goes along with them. Here are both.

Peter Hoffman’s Pickled Okra

“Caribbean folklore is that okra helps the baby come on and starts labor.  My wife decided that she had enough of being pregnant the second time around, so she ate a big jar of pickled okra (she also took some castor oil, which certainly didn’t hurt), and she started her labor fast and furious,” recalls Hoffman.  “One hour, to be exact.  And I delivered the baby on the front steps of our apartment.

1 pound small okra pods (cut off any darkened stems but leave whole)

3 cloves garlic, halved

1 cup cider vinegar

1 cup rice wine vinegar

1 cup water

3 tablespoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 teaspoon dill seeds

Pack three 1-pint canning jars with the okra vertical and alternating stems and tips.  Put a halved garlic clove in each jar as well.  In a nonreactive metal pot, bring the liquids to a boil.  Add the salt and spices.  Allow to steep for 20 minutes.  Fill the jars with the liquid to within 1 inch of the rims.  Wipe the rims and put on the lids.  Put the glass jars on a rack in a deep kettle and cover with hot water by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil, cover, and boil for 10 minutes.  Remove the jars from the bath and leave to cool.  Let the pickles mellow for 2 weeks minimum before tasting.  Best at 1 month.