How to Freeze Okra
If you like frozen okra in the
winter, just imagine how good it would taste if you had picked a firm, fresh
okra yourself and then
quickly froze them at home! It is also one of the simplest ways to put up a
vegetable for the winter. Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and
completely illustrated. The okra will taste MUCH better than anything
you've ever had from a store.
Directions for Freezing okra
- fresh okra - any
quantity. I figure one medium sized okra per serving (it
does cook down)
- 1 Large pot of boiling water
- 2 large bowls, one filled with cold water
- 1 sharp knife
- Vacuum food sealer or "ziploc"
type freezer bags (the freezer bag version is heavier and protects
better against freezer burn.
Step 1 - Get the okra!
Start with fresh okra - as fresh as you can get. If there is a
delay between harvesting and freezing, put it in the refrigerator or put
ice on it. Select young tender pods and separate into small pods (4
inches or under) and large pods. The smooth type varieties freeze as
well as or better than the ridged varieties because they do not split as
Step 2 - Wash the okra!
I'm sure you can figure out how to rinse the okra in plain
cold or lukewarm water.
Step 3 - Slice the okra
Just take a sharp knife and remove the stems at the end of the seed
cells, being careful not to expose the seed cell.
Prepare quickly, (if you
leave it sit cut for more than a half hour, it will start to discolor). Do
enough okra for one blanching at a time.
Step 4 - Get the pots ready
Get the pot of
boiling water ready (about
2/3 filled). Also
get a LARGE bowl of ice and cold water ready to receive the
okra after blanching.
Step 5 - Blanch the okra.
All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria
that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color,
flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. okra requires a brief
heat treatment, called blanching, in boiling water or steam, to
destroy the enzymes before freezing.
Cook (blanch) small pods 3
minutes and large pods 4 minutes.
Begin counting the blanching time as soon as
you place the okra in the boiling water. Cover the kettle and boil at a
high temperature for the required length of time. You may use the same
blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water
from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required
Step 6 - Cool the okra
Remove the okra from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and
place in ice water to cool for about 5 minutes (until cold).
Cooling them quickly prevents overcooking. Keep adding more ice as
Drain thoroughly (2 or 3 minutes). You can leave the okra whole
or slice it crosswise so it is ready to use.
Step 6A - IF YOU WILL BE FRYING THE OKRA LATER
If you will be using the okra for frying later, you can prepare it now.
If you will not be frying it later, or don't know; skip this step and
continue to step 8. Slice the okra crosswise and dredge it with corn meal or
flour. Spread in a single layer on shallow trays. Place the trays in freezer
just long enough to freeze solid (usually 2 to 4 hours)
Step 7 - bag the okra
I love the FoodSavers (see
this page for more information) with their vacuum
sealing! I am not paid by them, but these things really work.
If you don't have one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as
much air out of the bags. remove the air to prevent drying and
freezer burn. TIP: If you don't own a vacuum food sealer to
freeze foods, place food in a Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave
enough space to insert the tip of a soda straw. When straw is in place,
remove air by sucking the air out. To remove straw, press straw closed
where inserted and finish pressing the bag closed as you remove straw.
Foodsaver vac bag
Step 8 - Done!
Pop them into the freezer, on the quick
freeze shelf, if you have one!
- Harvest the okra at its peak maturity (firm, not limp or old)
- Process promptly after harvesting, or keep
cooled in the fridge or with ice until then.
- If the okra is watery when thawed, discard the liquid before using.
- An alternative method is to cook the okra first - using you favorite
recipe for a zucchini casserole, or sautéed okra, etc., and then simply
freeze the cooked okra! Of course, it does take up more room in your
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long can they be frozen?
It depends upon how cold is your freezer and how you packed them.
Colder (deep freezes) are better than frost free compartments, which
actually cycle above freezing (that's how they melt the ice). Vacuum
packing results in longer storage capability, too. Thicker bags also
help prevent freezer burn.
In general, up to 9 months in a ziploc bag in an ordinary freezer, and 14
months in a deep freeze in a vacuum packed bag. After that, they beans
won't make you sick; they just won't taste a s good.
Home Canning Kits
- Everything you need to get started with waterbath
canning (fruits,pickles, jams, jellies, salsa, sauces
- 21-1/2 qt. enamel water bath canner
- Funnel, jar lifter, lid lifter, bubble freer
- Ball Blue Book
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also s simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if your want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
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