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Can you freeze fresh okra?????????

k
kimberly13 Sep 21, 2008 10:06 AM

I have alot of fresh orka that I pick out of the garden and I need to know if i can freeze it and how...

  1. a
    adamshoe Sep 21, 2008 11:10 AM

    You have killer whales in your garden??!! Where do you live?? Being an okra-hater, I'm not the best authority, but most veggies freeze just fine. I'd maybe slice the slimy critters and lay them on a cookie sheet & freeze till firm. Then transfer to a ziploc bag for long term storage. (In my case, that'd be forever...LOL) Adam

    4 Replies
    1. re: adamshoe
      invinotheresverde Sep 21, 2008 07:43 PM

      I laughed at the same thing...
      :)

      1. re: adamshoe
        Scargod Sep 26, 2008 03:55 AM

        I sure am glad they don't have frozen orka in the frozen vegetable section of the S&S!
        As far as blanching, I wonder if you could kiss them with a flame and accomplish the same thing?

        1. re: Scargod
          e
          Eldon Kreider Sep 26, 2008 07:19 PM

          The heat needs to penetrate the vegetable to denature enzymes that cause deterioration while frozen. Without blanching most vegetables' texture will be mushy after being frozen for a while.

          If you have a good Middle Eastern market nearby, try the frozen baby okra. Most seem to come from Egypt. The labor to produce these has to be ridiculous because you are talking daily picking as the time between when the blossom falls off and when the okra are too large is about two days for the okra in my garden. Most supermarket okra is way too mature, but this stuff is at the other extreme.

          1. re: Eldon Kreider
            Scargod Sep 27, 2008 04:47 PM

            Thanks, and I'l look for those. In Connecticut, my growing season is so short. I don't have a greenhouse yet. My okras crop sucked this year.

      2. OCEllen Sep 21, 2008 05:55 PM

        Blanch it whole in boiling salted water for 30 - 45 seconds, drain, dry on paper towels and put it in portion sized freezer bags...freeze!

        6 Replies
        1. re: OCEllen
          e
          Eldon Kreider Sep 21, 2008 07:23 PM

          Blanching is very important for vegetables that are to be frozen to inactivate enzymes that will cause deterioration even at subfreezing temperatures. Either freeze in portion-sized freezer (not storage) bags or freeze on a cookie sheet or wax paper and then place in a larger freezer bag so you can take out whatever portion you want at the time. Okra freezes well.

          An alternative is to cook okra with tomatoes, onions, eggplant etc. and freeze the resulting vegetable dish in serving portions. Best to at least partially thaw this in refrigerator and heat carefully in microwave to avoid overcooking.

          1. re: Eldon Kreider
            hill food Sep 21, 2008 11:52 PM

            orka, corn and tomatoes with some hot sauce makes a fine keeper. stew and freeze and it just gets even thicker on re-heating. next you need to fine-tune your cornbread to go with.

            1. re: hill food
              r
              Rasam Sep 22, 2008 02:54 AM

              Hi Hillfood: do you have a recipe for the stew you describe? Many years ago I was unexpectedly hospitalized, and a (Southern) co-worker brought me this really yummy soup that sounds like what you described. It had corn, okra, in a tomato-ey and spicy soup. The veggies remained crisp, even after the leftovers were frozen and re-heated. It was really delicious. Thanks in advance ...

              Other than this dish, I've not had much luck cooking frozen okra, and we are an okra loving family.

              OP: how about sharing your excess with others (i.e. please send some my way) :)

              Or find recipes that use large quantities of it? Somewhere floating around online is an interesting recipe for grilled okra. Plus tons of South Asian and Middle Eastern dishes ....

              1. re: Rasam
                hill food Sep 22, 2008 06:53 AM

                Rasam, to be honest the SO makes it, I'll ask for details, but essentially from what I've observed, stew the tomatoes for a brief time (pref. fresh, but if not...) with bay, garlic and some hot sauce - I prefer Tabasco or Crystal, but that's to one's taste, minced jalapenos would work as well. later add the okra for thickening and then (hopefully fresh) corn so it retains crunch.

                a little duck or pork fat at the start doesn't hurt, doesn't need much.

                but I'll ask if I'm off base.

                as lucky fatima posted, frozen is a little trickier, but can be done esp. if you don't mind a loss of crispiness.

                1. re: hill food
                  hill food Sep 23, 2008 12:17 AM

                  SO was no help - one of those "use enough" or "cook long enough" types

                  consulted a dog-eared Southern Junior League cookbook (1981) that recommends starting with grease and onion/garlic etc. then okra and corn then diced tomato.

                  so I was wrong. not the first time.

                  1. re: hill food
                    r
                    Rasam Sep 25, 2008 01:57 AM

                    Thanks Hillfood. I too am a "use as much as looks and smells right" kind of cook, so don't be hard on SO :)
                    It sounds fairly simple. I'll sub clarified butter for the duck/pork fat.

        2. luckyfatima Sep 22, 2008 12:03 AM

          I have cooked with fresh to frozen okra before...it was unblanched. In order to prevent the slime from coming out and to avoid mushy okra, you have to drop it in the pot frozen and stir fry it in quite a bit of oil on very high heat for about 10 minutes, then lower the heat to medium and continue to cook until it crisps and the edges become slightly golden, remove from oil, drain, and season with salt after you remove from heat. It comes out crisp and nice but oily and highly caloric. If you don't mind the mush factor, I am sure you can just drop them frozen into whatever recipe you may be using.

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