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How to Freeze Okra

In this Article: Prepping and Blanching the Okra Freezing it for Stews and Casseroles Freezing it for Frying Community Q&A

If you love the taste of okra, wait for the height of okra season and set aside some fresh pods to freeze. When you’re craving the taste of summery okra during the dark winter months, you’ll thank yourself for thinking ahead. Just make sure you freeze it using the proper technique: blanch first, cut it into pieces, and flash freeze before storing. Otherwise, you might end up with mushy okra when you thaw it out. See Step 1 to learn the proper technique for freezing okra.

Steps

Part 1

Prepping and Blanching the Okra

  1. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 1

    1
    Start with fresh okra. Don’t attempt to freeze okra that is underripe or past its peak, or you won’t be pleased with the taste and texture of the okra when you thaw it later. Choose brightly-colored, well-formed okra without mushy spots or bruising.

    • If possible, pick the okra fresh. This enables you to freeze the okra before it starts degrading, and will result in the best-tasting okra later on.
    • If you don’t grow your own okra or can’t get to a farm, try buying it a farmer’s market or from a store that regularly restocks. You don’t want okra that’s been sitting on a shelf for several days.
  2. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 2

    2
    Wash the okra. Rinse away dirt and debris using a steady stream of cool water. Handle the okra gently, massaging away dirt instead of scrubbing it off. Okra is a rather fragile vegetable and will bruise easily if handled roughly.

  3. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 3

    3
    Trim off the stems. Use a sharp knife to trim off the tips of the okra. Don’t remove the entire cap that covers the seed cell; just trim the stems. Exposing the seed cell will cause the okra to break down quickly when you blanch it.

  4. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 4

    4
    Prepare a pot of boiling water. Pour water into a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. This will be used to blanch the okra.

  5. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 5

    5
    Prepare an ice bath. Fill a bowl with ice and water. The okra will be plunged into the bowl immediately after blanching to stop it from overcooking.

  6. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 6

    6
    Blanch the okra for 3 – 4 minutes. Place the okra in the boiling water. If the okra pieces are large, they’ll need to be boiled for 4 minutes. Blanch them for just 3 minutes if they’re on the small side. After the time is up, remove the okra from the pot with a slotted spoon.

    • If you have a mixture of small and large pieces of okra, sort them before blanching. Blanch the small pieces for 3 minutes and the large pieces for 4 minutes. Doing it separately will preserve the texture of each.
    • Blanching vegetables kills the enzymes that cause them to continue to ripen and eventually rot, thus helping preserve their color, flavor and texture. If you neglect to blanch the okra before freezing it, you’ll end up with mushy, flavorless okra when you thaw it.
  7. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 7

    7
    Plunge the okra into the ice bath for 3 – 4 minutes. As a general rule, you should chill blanched vegetables for the same amount of time that you blanched them. So if you blanched small pieces of okra for 3 minutes, chill them for 3. If you blanched large pieces for 4 minutes, chill them for 4.

  8. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 8

    8
    Drain and dry the okra. Place the okra on a cutting board or tray and let them dry before proceeding.

Part 2

Freezing it for Stews and Casseroles

  1. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 9

    1
    Chop the okra. Think ahead to what you plan to use the okra for. If you’re putting it in a stew, chop it horizontally to create chunks. If you plan to serve it as a side dish or stuff it, chop it lengthwise to create strips. Leave the seeds intact.

    • If you want to make fried okra, it’s best to bread it before freezing. Follow the steps in the next section.
  2. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 10

    2
    Place the okra on a baking sheet. Lay out the pieces in a single layer and make sure none of them are touch.

  3. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 11

    3
    Flash freeze the okra. Put the tray in the freezer and freeze the okra for 1 hour, or until the pieces are firm and slightly icy. Don’t leave the okra in the freezer uncovered for longer than this, or the chill will affect their texture.

  4. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 12

    4
    Place the okra in freezer bags. Fill each freezer bag to within an inch of the top with the frozen okra pieces. Close the top of the bag, leaving just enough space to stick a straw into the empty headspace. Suck the air out of the bag so that it closes tight around the okra, then remove the straw and seal the bag.

    • Removing the air will keep the okra from breaking down as quickly.
    • If you have a vacuum sealer, the machine will remove the air for you.
    • Consider labeling your bags with the date they were packed.
  5. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 13

    5
    Use the frozen okra. Frozen okra can be added to stew, soup, and casseroles without thawing it first. In fact, it’s best to immediately cook the okra instead of thawing it first. The more the okra is handled, the likelier it is to get mushy.

Part 3

Freezing it for Frying

  1. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 14

    1
    Chop the okra into pieces. Use a sharp knife to cut the okra into bite-sized pieces that will fry evenly.

  2. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 15

    2
    Bread the okra. Fried okra is typically breaded with cornmeal, or a mixture of cornmeal and flour. It’s fine to roll it in plain cornmeal, or cornmeal mixed with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Whatever mixture you choose, each piece of okra in a thin layer of breading, and shake off the excess.

    • Don’t use a wet batter to bread the okra before freezing, though, since it won’t hold up well in the freezer over time.
  3. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 16

    3
    Flash freeze the okra. Place the okra pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for an hour. Remove it from the freezer when the okra pieces are firm enough to hold their shape. [1]
  4. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 17

    4
    Portion the okra pieces into freezer bags. Fill each freezer bag to within an inch of the top with the frozen okra pieces. Close the top of the bag, leaving just enough space to stick a straw into the empty headspace. Suck the air out of the bag so that it closes tight around the okra, then remove the straw and seal the bag.

  5. Image titled Freeze Okra Step 18

    5
    Fry the okra. When you’re ready to use the okra, heat vegetable or peanut oil in a large stockpot. Let the oil get hot enough to sizzle when you add a piece of cornmeal to the pot. Put the frozen okra pieces directly into the hot oil and cook them until they’re golden brown and crispy. Season with salt and pepper to serve.

Community Q&A

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  • Question
    Why did my okra get slimy after blanching and icing it? Can I still freeze it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Okra usually gets slimy when overcooked. You can still freeze it and it might be okay for some things, but if I were you I would just toss it and try again, cooking it for a shorter amount of time.
    Thanks!

    Yes
    No
    Not Helpful 1
    Helpful 3

  • Question
    How do I freeze whole fresh picked okra so it won’t look awful after cooking?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    The secret to freezing okra is to use a vacuum sealer. I don’t even blanch the okra and it turns out just fine. If you want to pan fry it after freezing, cut it lengthwise while still frozen, coat the cut side with cornmeal, and fry.
    Thanks!

    Yes
    No
    Not Helpful 2
    Helpful 4

  • Question
    Can I use different seasonings when freezing breaded okra?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Yes. Many people like simple salt and pepper in their flour and cornmeal mixture. Other people add cayenne, garlic, paprika and other spices.
    Thanks!

    Yes
    No
    Not Helpful 9
    Helpful 10

  • Question
    Can you tell me when the height of okra season is?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    If you keep cutting the okra off the plant you can getting the vegetable all summer.
    Thanks!

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    Not Helpful 0
    Helpful 0

Unanswered Questions
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    Tips

    • Young and tender okra should be frozen only; older okra may not taste as good after freezing and it certainly isn’t improved by freezing!
    • Be sure to label and date the frozen okra bags.
    • You could also try frying the okra instead of parboiling it. To do this, add 2 tablespoons (29.6 ml) of oil for each 500g (1 lb) of okra to a deep pan. Fry the okra for 5 minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Then add to the freezer bags, expel the air, seal and freeze.
    • Okra can be frozen for up to one year. [2]

    Things You’ll Need

    • Knife
    • Large pot
    • Colander, frying basket, or slotted spoon
    • Bowl for ice water
    • A freezer bag that can be sealed

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    References

    1. http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/okra.html
    2. http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/okra.cfm

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    Article Info

    Categories: Freezing Food | Okra

    In other languages:

    Español:  congelar gombos , Français:  congeler des okras (ou gombos) , Deutsch:  Okras einfrieren , Italiano:  Congelare l’Ocra , Português:  Congelar Quiabo , Русский:  заморозить бамию , Bahasa Indonesia:  Membekukan Okra , Nederlands:  Okra invriezen , العربية:  تجميد البامية

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    Co-authors: 5
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    SM

    Sherry Mowrer

    Aug 14, 2016

    “I was given a large bag of okra from a neighbor’s garden. I had no idea how to keep it, so I thought of freezing it. It is simple, simple. Blanch, cool, chop, freeze. I love the fact that you can bread it and then freeze it. That’s how I ate it as a kid. Ah, memories!!”…” more


    RL

    R. M. Leimer

    Oct 2, 2017

    “I did the freezing of okra for stew, soups and casserole. The article was very helpful — but I didn’t have to make sure the pieces didn’t touch each other. I didn’t pile them on each other, but not worrying about touching one another made it easier to handle.”…” more


    JH

    Joshua Horsley

    Aug 5, 2016

    “I love okra, and recently grew some. Everything in the article was helpful, all the pictures, and the well written explanations on why and how the boiling/ice water cooling helps in the storing process was really useful! Thanks for the great guide!”…” more


    PR

    Patsey Roberts

    Jul 31, 2017

    “It helped me a great deal. We planted a small garden this spring, and suddenly we have okra out the wazoo. My husband loves fried okra and I didn’t have a clue how to put it up without it being mushy. Thank you so much for the information!”…” more
    Rated this article:


    A

    Anonymous

    Jul 29, 2017

    “We have a garden and are growing okra. We’re getting the first harvest where there’s too little to break out the jars, so I opted to find how to freeze ready-to-fry okra. This answered every question.”…” more
    Rated this article:


    PC

    Paulette Clay

    Jun 27, 2017

    “I am given okra often during the harvesting season. My family is only two people, and we have to eat it almost every day. This helps me to be able to have it later in the year.”…” more
    Rated this article:


    RP

    Richard Peppers

    Jul 20, 2017

    “We take for granted how mom prepared the okra for freezing or cooking. Thank you for sharing, it is good to know that we can still have good fried okra.”…” more


    CR

    Carol Rex

    Jul 23, 2017

    “Your articles did help. I had forgotten about blanching the okra. My okra was always soggy then it would need to be over fried. Thank you.”…” more


    MS

    Maxie O. Shirey

    Jul 26, 2017

    “Wanted to make sure I remembered from my days on the farm, many moons ago. I was given several pounds and didn’t want to lose it.”…” more
    Rated this article:


    CC

    Charlotte Cooper

    Jul 29, 2017

    “I did not know how to freeze okra, and never heard of flash freeze. Love our okra, and now can enjoy it in the winter months.”…” more


    KG

    Ken Grissom

    Aug 23, 2017

    “Great. I’m no cook for sure. I grew a lot of okra, and now after watching your clips, I will have okra all winter. Thank you.”…” more


    JH

    Jacqueline Hawkins

    Sep 16, 2016

    “I now know that you can freeze just about anything as long at it can be blanched, not lettuce or leafy veggies.”


    SL

    Sadie Lowery

    Jul 30, 2016

    “Your step-by-step directions are wonderful! So thorough and complete. Keep it coming. Thank you! ”


    DH

    Daniel H.

    Aug 22, 2016

    “Really helpful! I like that it tells consequences of improper prepping, along with the how-to.”


    NZ

    Nasir Zaidi

    Dec 22, 2016

    “I have tried, and now waiting that okra be dry enough to proceed further.”


    SJ

    S. Jackson

    Aug 15, 2017

    “I had never fixed okra for freezing before. Almost ready to bag it now.”


    SR

    Sharyn Raiche

    Oct 10, 2016

    “Super detailed with easy-to-follow steps. The pictures are a bonus!”


    JB

    James Burt

    Jun 12, 2017

    “Filled in the gaps in memory and knowledge, thanks.”
    Rated this article:


    JT

    Jo ellen Turner

    Aug 28, 2017

    “Thank you very much, very helpful.”

    Share yours!
    More success stories
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    Quick Tips

    Related Articles

    Prepare Okra

    How to

    Prepare Okra

    Make Jhatpat Bhindi (Okra Based Indian Vegetable Dish)

    How to

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    Make Spicy Okra and Cabbage

    How to

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    Grow Okra

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    4 Quick and Simple Methods to Freeze Okra and Store it for Winter

    4 Simple Methods to Freeze Okra
    Winter is right around the corner, and it’s time to start freezing those gorgeous, green okra. Don’t know how to do that, do you?
    Tastessence Staff

    Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
    Food At A Wedding Or Catering Event

    Handy Tip
    To check for its freshness, gently bend its tip. If it breaks off with a snap, you know it is fresh. A stale or an underripe okra will bend and tear.

    If the long, cold, winter months worry you about not having your favorite okra, worry no more! You can always choose to freeze and store them away in your freezer so that they are available when you crave for a bite. Whether it is simply frying them or adding it in soups and casseroles, you can be prepared for winter with your handy frozen okra.

    All you’ll need are a few simple things that you probably already have around in the kitchen. You’ll need fresh okra, reusable freezer bags, and a marker if you wish to label them.

    Blanching and Freezing Whole Okra
    Freeze Okra

    Step 1: Wash and clean okra under running water, while rubbing away any dirt.
    Step 2: Cut off their tips and caps.
    Step 3: Separate the small okra from the larger ones. This will make it easier for you when you blanch them.
    Step 4: Boil some water in a large pot, and in another bowl, keep some ice water.
    Step 5: Blanch the okra for 3 – 4 minutes. Larger okra will take about 4 minutes, while the smaller or medium ones will take around 3 minutes. Once their time is up, remove them from the boiling water with the help of a spoon, ladle, or tongs. Place them directly into the bowl with ice water, for the same time it took them while blanching.
    Step 6: Remove them from the cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
    Step 7: Leave them out to dry for half an hour or so.
    Step 8: Later, place them in a reusable freezer bag. Lightly squeeze out all the excess air from the bag before sealing. Or if you have a vacuum sealer, this is the perfect time to use it.
    Step 9: Place this bag into the freezer.

    Freeze Whole Okra Sans Blanching
    Freeze Okra
    Step 1: Wash okra under running water, and rub away the dirt.
    Step 2: Pat dry with paper towels.
    Step 3: Leave them out to dry for half an hour.
    Step 4: Place them in a reusable freezer bag and remove the excess air out of the bags before sealing it shut.
    Step 5: Finally, freeze the okra for future use.

    Freezing Okra for Frying
    Freeze Okra

    Step 1: Wash and cut okra into bite-sized pieces.
    Step 2: Prepare a mixture of bread with cornmeal, flour and cornmeal, or even just cornmeal with a pinch of salt and pepper. Do not use wet batter. The water in the batter will freeze solid and ruin the taste and texture of the vegetable.
    Step 3: Coat the okra in a thin layer of this dry mixture.
    Step 4: Place the okra piece by piece on a baking sheet and put them into the freezer, for an hour.
    Step 5: After an hour, transfer them into a reusable freezer bag. Lightly squeeze out all the excess air and seal/tie it shut.
    Step 6: Place the bag into the freezer.

    Okra for Soups, Stews, and Casseroles
    Freeze Okra
    Step 1: Wash and cut okra into the size of your choice. You may also choose to slice them lengthwise as well.
    Step 2: Place the okra pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Remember not to let them touch each other while placing them.
    Step 3: Put them into the freezer for an hour.
    Step 4: Later, transfer them into a reusable freezer bag. Squeeze out the excess air and seal it shut.
    Step 5: Put this okra-filled bag into the freezer.

    Freeze Okra
    When you use any of these frozen okra, remember that they are delicate, so handle them less and do not thaw them. This will retain their shape and prevent them from becoming slimy and mushy. Even if you are planning on deep-frying them, pour them out of the bag and into the oil.

    Share This


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