How to Freeze Okra
As with most vegetables, there is some prep work involved for you to freeze okra successfully. Especially if you want to freeze it from raw. Let’s get started and find out how you need to prep this vegetable in order to freeze it.
- Wash and Sort
Wash and sort through your okra pods. You want to throw out any that are damaged or show signs of spoiling. You should also cut off any stems.
- Chop Up
You can freeze them whole, but it is usually a little easier to use them if you have chopped them up before freezing. To chop, you can slice them into bite-sized pieces or dice them into any shape you prefer.
- Prepare for Blanching
Next, you need to blanch the okra. This is a critical step because it cooks the okra just enough to stop the enzymes in the vegetable from spoiling, and this is what helps it keep its fresh colour and texture while in the freezer. To blanch the okra, you need to pop a large saucepan of water onto the stove to boil. While it is heating up, you can prepare some ice water.
- Boil Okra
When the water is boiling, you can put the okra into the boiling water for about three to four minutes. You don’t need to cook them for long, just enough to halt the enzymes in the okra.
- Plunge Into Ice Water
Once the time is up, you need to immediately take the okra out of the boiling water and plunge it into the ice water to stop the cooking process. You must stop the cooking process, or the okra will become overcooked.
Let the okra drain, and while it is doing this, you can prepare a baking sheet that is suitable to put in the freezer by popping a layer of parchment paper onto the baking sheet.
Lay the okra onto the baking sheet in a single layer. The idea is to keep the okra from freezing together into a clump. Pop the tray and okra into the freezer and freeze for about four to five hours.
- Transfer to a Bag
Once the okra has frozen, you can take the tray out of the freezer and put the okra into a freezer bag.
Label the bag with the date and contents and seal it tightly.
Pop the bag into the freezer for about half an hour. After this time, take the bag out of the freezer and give it a little shake to separate the okra as it freezes. Then you can put it back into the freezer and forget about it until you need some okra in your meal.
How to Freeze Fried Okra
Fried okra is just one method for cooking okra, and it is absolutely delicious. You can add your own flavours and make some beautiful side dishes to serve with your meals. You might be wondering if you can freeze okra once it has been fried too.
Well, the great news is that yes, you can freeze fried okra.
Allow the fried okra to cool down completely.
- Portion Into Bags
Separate it out into portions and put these portions into separate freezer bags.
Squeeze out any excess air from the bags, then seal them.
Label the bags with the date and contents and pop the bags into the freezer.
3 Tips for Freezing Okra
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing okra to have the best results:
- Blanching is Vital – Blanching is really important when it comes to freezing your okra. It cooks the okra just enough to maintain its lovely colour and flavour but doesn’t overcook it. When it comes to putting the okra into the boiling water, you can use a metal colander. Pop the okra into the colander and lower this into the boiling water. When the time is up, you can remove the colander containing the okra easily and quickly and pop it straight into the ice water.
- Soak In Vinegar – If you are unsure if your okra was grown using pesticides and chemicals, then you can soak the okra in white vinegar for a few minutes to kill any bacteria and remove these pesticides. Do this before you wash them and blanch them.
- Chop Before Freezing – Chopping your okra before you freeze can make it much easier to use them when it comes to cooking. It means you can cook them right from frozen, and this saves you a lot of time.
How Long Can You Freeze Okra?
You can freeze okra for up to a year! Great news if you want to keep okra handy in the freezer whenever you need it. Fried okra can be kept for a little less time than this, and we would recommend that you use it within three months if possible.
You Can Freeze Okra for up to 6 Months
How Do You Defrost Okra?
One of the best things about freezing your okra using the method outlined above is that you don’t need to thaw it out before using it. You can cook it right from frozen, and this saves you a lot of time.
However, if you want to thaw out the okra, you can do this by popping it into a bowl and putting it in the fridge to thaw out for several hours.
Can You Refreeze Okra?
Once you have frozen, thawed and heated your okra, we would not recommend that you refreeze it. Doing so could end up with spoiled okra that doesn’t taste great. It isn’t worth the risk.
Does Okra Freeze Well?
As long as you blanch the okra first, then it does freeze fairly well. It will never be quite as good as it was fresh, but the changes should be so minimal you won’t even notice them.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing okra or okra in general, then these may help:
Can You Freeze Okra Without Cooking It?
You can freeze okra without fully cooking it, but we would strongly recommend that you blanch the okra before freezing it. This will ensure the okra can last for up to a year in the freezer without any drastic changes to the texture, colour or flavour.
Is Frozen Okra as Good as Fresh?
Generally speaking, fresh is better than frozen. However, if you follow the steps at the top of this article for freezing okra, then you’re unlikely to notice the difference unless you were to eat fresh and frozen side-by-side as a comparison.