Winter is right around the corner, and it’s time to start freezing those gorgeous, green okra. Don’t know how to do that, do you?
To check for its freshness, gently bend its tip. If it breaks off with a snap, you know it is fresh. A stale or an underripe okra will bend and tear.
If the long, cold, winter months worry you about not having your favorite okra, worry no more! You can always choose to freeze and store them away in your freezer so that they are available when you crave for a bite. Whether it is simply frying them or adding it in soups and casseroles, you can be prepared for winter with your handy frozen okra.
All you’ll need are a few simple things that you probably already have around in the kitchen. You’ll need fresh okra, reusable freezer bags, and a marker if you wish to label them.
Blanching and Freezing Whole Okra
Step 1: Wash and clean okra under running water, while rubbing away any dirt.
Step 2: Cut off their tips and caps.
Step 3: Separate the small okra from the larger ones. This will make it easier for you when you blanch them.
Step 4: Boil some water in a large pot, and in another bowl, keep some ice water.
Step 5: Blanch the okra for 3 – 4 minutes. Larger okra will take about 4 minutes, while the smaller or medium ones will take around 3 minutes. Once their time is up, remove them from the boiling water with the help of a spoon, ladle, or tongs. Place them directly into the bowl with ice water, for the same time it took them while blanching.
Step 6: Remove them from the cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Step 7: Leave them out to dry for half an hour or so.
Step 8: Later, place them in a reusable freezer bag. Lightly squeeze out all the excess air from the bag before sealing. Or if you have a vacuum sealer, this is the perfect time to use it.
Step 9: Place this bag into the freezer.
Freeze Whole Okra Sans Blanching
Step 1: Wash okra under running water, and rub away the dirt.
Step 2: Pat dry with paper towels.
Step 3: Leave them out to dry for half an hour.
Step 4: Place them in a reusable freezer bag and remove the excess air out of the bags before sealing it shut.
Step 5: Finally, freeze the okra for future use.
Freezing Okra for Frying
Step 1: Wash and cut okra into bite-sized pieces.
Step 2: Prepare a mixture of bread with cornmeal, flour and cornmeal, or even just cornmeal with a pinch of salt and pepper. Do not use wet batter. The water in the batter will freeze solid and ruin the taste and texture of the vegetable.
Step 3: Coat the okra in a thin layer of this dry mixture.
Step 4: Place the okra piece by piece on a baking sheet and put them into the freezer, for an hour.
Step 5: After an hour, transfer them into a reusable freezer bag. Lightly squeeze out all the excess air and seal/tie it shut.
Step 6: Place the bag into the freezer.
Okra for Soups, Stews, and Casseroles
Step 1: Wash and cut okra into the size of your choice. You may also choose to slice them lengthwise as well.
Step 2: Place the okra pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Remember not to let them touch each other while placing them.
Step 3: Put them into the freezer for an hour.
Step 4: Later, transfer them into a reusable freezer bag. Squeeze out the excess air and seal it shut.
Step 5: Put this okra-filled bag into the freezer.
When you use any of these frozen okra, remember that they are delicate, so handle them less and do not thaw them. This will retain their shape and prevent them from becoming slimy and mushy. Even if you are planning on deep-frying them, pour them out of the bag and into the oil.