Cooking: How to Freeze Okra

Okra piles up in Late Summer and Autumn – it is abundant and if you have your own plants there is more than you can eat. In the green grocers it is consistently cheap and plentiful, with my local green grocer having a large bin of it that is constantly restocked.

One way to use the Okra is to freeze it for use during Winter and Spring. It is really simple to do, and okra can be stored in ziplock bags for space economy in your freezer.

You can also pickle Okra, or dry okra for snacks.  Both of these also keep the wonderful flavours of okra for you throughout Winter. Why not browse all of our Okra recipes, and explore our Mid Autumn collection of dishes?

Pickled Okra

Recipe: How to Freeze Okra

Use the freshest okra you can find, and discard any that have any spots, pits or other signs of decay. Wash or rinse them, drain them well, and sort into sizes – small and large.

If you are going to freeze the okra whole, carefully trim the tops without cutting into the seed cavity of the pods.  If you are going to slice them into bite sized pieces after blanching, carefully remove the tops without cutting into the seed cavity.

Bring some water to the boil while you are doing this. Also prepare an iced water bath.

The larger pods need to be simmered for 4 minutes and the smaller ones for 3 minutes. So add the larger pods to the boiling water, bring back to the boil, and simmer for 1 minute. Then add the small pods, return to the boil and simmer for around 2.5 minutes. Cool the pods quickly by draining them and then immediately placing them in iced water for 3 – 4 minutes.

Drain them well.

Place whole pods into freezer containers, freezer bags or zip lock bags. Pods can also be sliced in half cross-wise, or sliced into bite-sized chunks before freezing. If you plan to fry the okra later, dredge the pieces in cornmeal or flour before placing in the bags or containers. Press out as much air from the bags as you can before sealing closed.

Place the bags or containers in the freezer and use within 12 months. Frozen okra can be boiled, stewed, sautéed or fried. Simply scoop out what you need, and add it to your recipe. It doesn’t need to be thawed. If the pods need slicing before being cooked, you can thaw them a little first before cutting.

Okra are mainly hollow inside, and they tend to collapse if all air is removed from the freezer bags. So if you are using a vacuum sealer, don’t remove all of the air from the bags.