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Sep 21, 2008 10:06 AM

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

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...

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  1. 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

        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

          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

            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. The original comment has been removed
        1. 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!

          9 Replies
          1. re: OCEllen

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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.

                      1. re: Rasam

                        coming back to this 6 years late. oops, sorry Rasam, I just sort of realized you're vegetarian - in that case clarified butter should be great. if anyone is vegan then olive or peanut oil should work just fine.

              2. re: Eldon Kreider

                Can they be frozen whole until I have enough to pickle & can a batch?

                1. re: DanaFerree

                  I would not try it. Blanching and freezing will change the texture and probably interfere with the pickling process. Simply refrigerating okra for a few days is likely to do less damage.

            2. I have cooked with fresh to frozen okra 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.