Okra is an essential ingredient for making Creole style gumbo, or even turkey gumbo after Thanksgiving. Fresh okra do not keep for very long, so freezing young tender okra provides some for future cooking. This is a guide about freezing okra.
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Select young tender pods with a velvety green appearance, that have a firm, crisp texture and snap easily. Pods should not look limp, pitted or shriveled. The best pods are usually between 2 and 4 inches. The smooth varieties freeze better than the ridged varieties because they don't split as readily.
Preparing for Freezing:
Wash and pat dry. Remove the stems at the end of the seed cells, but do not cut open and expose the seed cell.
Water-blanch smaller pods for 3 minutes and larger pods for 4 minutes. Steam-blanch for 4 to 6 minutes respectively. Cool promptly and drain. Leave okra whole or slice it crosswise.
Best Freezing Method(s):
Use this method if you intend to use okra for frying. Wash and prepare okra. Blanch according to size. Cool and drain. Slice crosswise and dredge with meal or flour. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and tray-freeze until firm. Once firm, transfer okra quickly to suitable containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
Clean and prepare okra. Blanch as directed. Cool and drain. Leave whole or slice crosswise. Pack in suitable containers. Seal, label and freeze.
Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Suitable packaging for freezing okra includes freezer-grade plastic bags, rigid plastic containers or glass containers and heavy-duty foil or foil containers.
Maximum Storage Time:
10 to 12 months at 0ºF.
Add frozen okra to cooked dishes without thawing.
Tips & Shortcuts:
The amount okra needed to fill a 1-pint freezer bag is approximately _ pound.
To stay fresh, it's important to keep okra dry in the refrigerator. Store in a perforated plastic bag in the warmest parts of the fridge (the inside door) for 5 to 7 days.
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I use the same method as Lilac-wash, let dry and freeze. Blanching is not necessary for okra. I do put mine on a tray, freeze it, then bag while still frozen. This keeps it from clumping together so that you can remove just the amount you want to use and put the rest of the bag back in the freezer. If I plan to use it sliced, I do the slicing before freezing. Keeps from having to use extra freezer bags, as well as using immediately from freezer as opposed to waiting for it to thaw.
I freeze my okra about the same way as blackbeararts. Wash and dry , then slice it crosswise. But instead of using freezer bags such as Ziplocks, I use paper lunch bags. I take 3 bags, insert one inside the other. Fill them about 3/4 full, fold down the tops and staple them shut. These bags will keep very well for up to a year with no freezer burn, and very little frost inside the bag. They will not clump together. You can use part of the bag and re-staple and return to the freezer. I always label the bag with a sharpy Marker noting the contents, "Okra" and the date I prepared it. Always use the oldest packages first. Harlean from Arkansas
I would like to know how to prepare sliced okra for freezing.
Richard from Anthony, NM
RE: Preparing Okra for Freezing
If you want to freeze it whole. Select small pods. Cut a tiny bit into the top not cutting into the pod. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add one teaspoon vinegar. Add okra and blanch about 3 minutes. Pour through a colander and drain. Then add to a pan of ice water to chill. Drain and bag. Or you can cut off both ends and slice.
For breading okra, salt and pepper, beat a egg or two according to the amount you have. Use self rising meal and self rising flour to coat well. I mix mine with my hands. Deep fry about 5 minutes or until light brown. Freeze on cookie sheet and bag when frozen. When ready to use put the frozen okra in deep fryer and finish the browning. Enjoy! (08/09/2006)
RE: Preparing Okra for Freezing
I just cut off the both ends of the okra slice and put in freezer bags. No blanching is needed. Can be used frozen in gumbos, stews etc. or thawed and then fried. (08/10/2006)