How to freeze okra from your garden (directions, recipe, with photos)

This month's notes: July 2014: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries tomatoes, corn and most vegetables are being picked in most places; strawberries are finishing or done; Peaches are in and early apples will start in late July. Find a local blueberry festival and blueberry picking tips here. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! Make your own homemade strawberry ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors))  Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions!

Organic farms are identified in green!  See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!

Bookmark and Share Subscribe to our: Email alerts Follow us on Twitter  Add this page to your favorites! - Email this page to a friend, or to yourself


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

Ingredients

  • fresh okra - any quantity.  I figure one medium sized okra per serving (it does cook down)

Equipment

  • 1 Large pot of boiling water
  • 2 large bowls, one filled with cold water and ice.
  • 1 sharp knife
  • Vacuum food sealer or "ziploc" type freezer bags (the freezer bag version is heavier and protects better against freezer burn.

Instructions

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 easily.

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 height.

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 needed.

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

Ziploc bag

Step 8 - Done!

Pop them into the freezer, on the quick freeze shelf, if you have one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips:

  • 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 freezer.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 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.

This page was updated on

Picking Tips

[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!]  [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]

Home Canning Kits

Features:

Ball Enamel Waterbath Canner, Including Chrome-Plated Rack and 4-Piece Utensil Set

* All the tools you need for hot waterbath canning - in one comprehensive set!
* Complete with 21 1/2 qt. enameled waterbath canner
* Also includes canning rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrencher, bubble freer, tongs and lid lifter.
* A Kitchen Krafts exclusive collection.

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. 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!
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!