How to Freeze Okra
Here's the easy answer to stretching out your summer okra bounty all year long.
A trip to the farmers' market may leave you with a few too many okra pods than you know what to do with. And we know you don't want to let them go to waste! Pickling your pods will let you get a bite summer all year long, but you can also freeze okra so you can enjoy it in your favorite hot dishes, too. To help you out, we put together an easy step-by-step guide on how to do it.
Pictured Recipe: One-Pan Spicy Okra & Shrimp
Before You Start
The best way to freeze okra calls for blanching and shocking the pods before freezing. That means you dunk the okra pods in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds and then plunge them into ice water to halt the cooking. According to experts at the University of Minnesota Extension, this method of quick-cooking vegetables before freezing deactivates enzymes that cause the loss of nutrients, color, flavor and texture.
While we encourage you to preserve as many nutrients as you can, you can skip the blanching and freeze the okra without it. It may lose some of its vibrant green color but, in my experience, the texture and flavor of frozen okra that has been blanched isn't much different from okra that hasn't.
Pictured Recipe: Pan-Fried Okra
How to Freeze Okra
What You'll Need:
- Large pot
- Large bowl
- Ice cubes
- Tongs or slotted spoon
- Paper towels
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheet
- Zip-top freezer bags or airtight plastic containers
Wash the okra pods thoroughly and cut them into bite-size pieces, if desired.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water.
Carefully add the okra to the boiling water; cook until the pods turn bright green, about 30 seconds. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, quickly transfer the pods to the ice water and let them cool for a few minutes. Remove the pods from the ice water and pat dry with paper towels.
Spread the pods out in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (a silicone mat works too). Make sure the pods are not touching each other, so they don't stick together when they freeze.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and place the frozen okra in zip-top plastic freezer bags or in an airtight plastic container. Store in the freezer for up to a year.
Okra freezes better than many vegetables. You can cook it most ways that you would fresh okra. It works perfectly in gumbo or stewed with tomatoes. You can even grill and sauté it too.