Okra is a favorite vegetable in the south. It is a great way to use up all those veggies from your garden, and it’s so easy! Here are some quick and easy methods to freeze okra, that will keep you from having to buy them all the time. Along with these top tips for freezing Okra I’ll share some recipe ideas and the best ways to use okra in your meals.
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What Is Okra
Okra, also known as lady’s fingers, hibiscus or huksi is a type of flowering plant in the mallow family Malvaceae. It is a tender perennial plant with a swollen stem and heart-shaped leaves.
Okra is indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, and America. This tropical vegetable has thick, juicy green pods.
Okra is a popular food in some parts of the world and a staple in others. It can be eaten fresh or cooked and is typically used in stews, soups, and curries.
I first tried Okra on an aeroplane flight from Dubai to New Zealand and it was delicious. Now I love to get okra when I can and freeze it for future meals and recipes.
Ocra is a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin c and potassium. It is also a good source of calcium, iron and vitamins A and B.
Types of Okra
There are many varieties of okra, which differentiates it from other types of vegetables such as eggplant and tomatoes. Here is a list of some of the popular types of this edible herbaceous plant that can be found in the United States:
- -Green okra
- -White okra
- -Purple okra
- -Crimson Okra
- -Okra in a pod
- -Dancing ladies okra
- -Sunglow Okra
- -Alabama seedless okra
How to freeze okra
Freezing Okra is very easy, all you need to do is chop the okra and blanch it. Once it’s cooked and cooled down, pack them in a freezer bag or container with as much air removed as possible to prevent freezer burn.
Freezer burn is the discoloring or darkening of food that occurs due to exposure to air. Freezer burn can make food taste old and stale so it’s important to learn how to freeze fresh okra correctly to preserve the nutritional content benefits and taste of the vegetable.
To get started, all you need are some fresh okra pods and a few simple tools that you probably already have around in your kitchen. Place your fresh okra into a large colander A large cooking pot or large pot with ice and water.
Top tip: Buy or pick the freshest okra if you want the best results.
Wash the Okra and then transfer the okra into a colander washing it under running water. Remove the stems and drain off any water residues from the okra properly. You’re now ready to blanch the okra so it is perfect for freezing.
How to blanch okra so it is perfect for freezing
To blanch the Okra first Plunge them into an Ice Bath. Next separate the larger okra pods from the smaller ones. When the water starts to boil, add the larger okra pods into it and boil them for about 4 minutes. Now, blanch the smaller pods of okra in boiling water for about 3 minutes.
After allowing the okra to cool off for a few minutes in ice water, you can transfer them into a colander and drain off excess water.
Now the okra is ready to freeze. Pack your blanched okra into a freezer bag or transfer them onto a freezer safe container and store it in the freezer.
What does blanching do to Okra?
Blanching is a way of preparing vegetables especially for freezing. By boiling or steaming the okra quickly, it makes the vegetable more tender and tasty when you cook it later on.
It can also give your dishes a bright color due to its antioxidant content such as vitamin C. This helps the okra retain its bright green color and makes it a vibrant vegetable to cook with even after freezing.
What is the easiest way to freeze okra?
The easiest way to freeze okra after blanching it is to lay them flat in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Make sure the okra is not touching each other when laying it out. Then put the cookie sheet into your freezer for at least 2 hours before you freeze it. After two hours get the okra out and place into a ziplock bag ensuring all the air is removed.
Another way to freeze okra is the freeze drying method. Freeze drying is an alternative that not only preserves the nutrition of the vegetables, but also preserves their texture. It also gives ultimate preservation against diseases and lengthens their shelf life to several months.
To freeze dry Okra simply cut the okra into thin matchsticks and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Place in your oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours. After 24 hours, place the okra in a ziplock bag and freeze.
Once frozen, okra can keep for up to six months giving you plenty of time to use it before the next season of vegetables grow.
Do I need to chop Okra before I freeze it?
Chopping okra before freezing is totally optional. Slicing the okra before freezing can make things easier when frying or adding to a stew later on however this is up to you.
You can freeze okra chopped or whole. The most important thing is to keep both chopped and whole okra in an air tight bag and then any slices or whole pieces will remain in good condition without changing their texture.
What is the best way to store fresh okra?
If you want to freeze some Okra and store some fresh for another day then fresh okra can store in the fridge perfectly fine for up to five days before it needs to be used. The best way to store fresh okra for a short period of time would be in a sealed container with an airtight lid in the fridge. Here are some fantastic freezer storage containers you may want to check out!
How to cook frozen Okra
When you are ready to defrost your frozen okra you will need to take it out of the freezer and thaw it naturally. To cook your frozen okra simply cook it in boiling water for 10 minutes. If you are using fresh okra then it is best to saute or steam them before adding to boiling water.
Boiling or Steaming Okra
The best ways to cook okra is to boil fry, steam, sautee or bake. If steaming is desired, the okra should be soaked in cold water for an hour before cooking to re-hydrate it. The okra should be cooked in boiling water for 10 minutes and then steamed for 20 minutes.
Frying is another cooking method that can be used to cook okra. This technique requires the okra be soaked in water for an hour before cooking. The okra is then cooked in boiling oil until the pods are golden brown. This technique is best used with fresh or frozen okra. If using canned okra, the pods should be drained before cooking.
How To Sautee Orka
Okra can also be cooked by sauteeing it over a low to medium-high heat. The okra should be cut in half lengthwise and then the pods will need to be sauteed in a pan for about 3 minutes.
Some quick and easy ways to make a dish with Okra
Okra is a great and versatile vegetable that can be added to many different dishes including curries, soups, stews and stir fries. Here are some quick and easy ways to make a dish with okra.
- -Saute the okra with garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in your Instant Pot.
- -Fry Okra in a pan with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
- -Okra can be added to your favourite stove top vegetable soup or added to your instant pot stew.
- -Fry Okra.as crispy snack.
- -Or simply add Okra to your favorite dish.
5 Okra Recipes You Need To Try
1. Okra And Tomatoes Stir Fry
This is a traditional dish that can be easily prepared in minutes. This dish is not only delicious but nutritious, making it the perfect meal for busy weeknight meals. Ingredients 1 lb fresh okra 2 tbsp vegetable oil 2 tsp black mustard seeds ¼ tsp turmeric powder …
View Full recipe here: Pan-Fried Okra, Onion And Tomatoes
2. Slow Cooker Chicken And Okra Stew Recipe
This delicious and easy recipe combines the soft texture of okra with hearty vegetables like potatoes and carrots to make a stew that is full of flavor. Ingredients 3 cups water 1 cup chicken broth 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs 3 medium carrots, chopped 3 medium..
View Full recipe here: Slow Cooker Smothered Chicken And Okra
3. Indian Okra Masala Recipe
This is the easiest dish in the world to prepare and offers a delicious take on traditional okras that people across India love. If this dish sounds like something you would love then check out the recipe:
View Full recipe here: Bhindi Masala
4. Crispy Baked Okra Recipe
If you are looking for a perfect snack or side dish recipe then this crispy baked okra recipe is exactly what you need! The crispiness of the baked okras will be sure to impress anyone who tries them and they are sure to quickly become one of favorites.
5. Slow Cooker Gumbo Recipe
This slow cooker gumbo recipe uses okra as the main ingredient to give it a beautiful flavor. This is a dish that can be prepared in minutes and cooked all day for an amazing end result. The perfect comfort food!
View Full recipe here: Slow Cooker Okra Gumbo
There you have it. Now you know how to freeze fresh Okra! Freeze your okra so it is as delicious as when it was first frozen and then make it bring a vibrant color to your favortie Okra dishes.
I hope you found this post about Okra and how to freeze Okra useful. What is your favorite Okra recipe?
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About Angela Milnes
Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and adults. Angela has also taught cooking classes and loves to share both family recipes and easy instant pot recipes here on The Instant Pot Table. Follow her on Pinterest!