Okra may technically be a fruit, but it is used in cooking like a vegetable. While frozen okra is much more common in supermarkets than fresh okra, it is still worth knowing how to freeze okra if you tend to enjoy cooking Asian cuisine regularly.
To freeze okra, first, you must blanch it in boiling water for 3 minutes or so. Once blanched, freeze it on a baking tray until solid then pop them into a suitable container.
How to Freeze Okra
If you have frozen other fruit and veg before, you will know it takes a little more effort than shoving it into the freezer and hoping for the best.
There is only one method of freezing okra that will maintain its versatile texture and slight sweetness. Follow the method below closely for the best frozen okra:
- Prepare Your Equipment
You will need some basic equipment to freeze okra which you can prepare beforehand. In a pan big enough to fit your okra in, boil some water and prepare some ice cold water in a spare bowl. Mix a water and white vinegar solution in a separate bowl using the ingredients in equal parts.
- Soak The Okra
A water and vinegar solution is necessary to ensure that your okra is clean and fresh before being frozen. You do not want to soak your okra in the solution for longer than 2-3 minutes as the acidity may still affect the okra’s taste.
- Cut The Stems
The thick stems of okra are not nutritious or particularly enjoyable to eat, so there is no point in freezing them. Remove the stems from the okra, but do not cut too far into the okra itself. If you can see the inner seeds of the okra, then you have chopped too far!
- Blanch Okra
Blanching plays the most significant part in helping your okra maintain its texture, flavour, and rich green colour once frozen. To blanch okra, drop it into your boiling water for 3-4 minutes. After, quickly transfer the okra to your ice-cold water bowl to halt the cooking process then cool for 5 minutes.
- Thoroughly Dry
When the okra is cool enough to hold, dry with paper towels. Be careful not to be too rough as you risk breaking the okra’s pod. The dryer you can get the pods, the more evenly they will freeze.
- Flash Freeze
Separate your okra onto a baking tray. This will allow the okra to freeze quicker and prevent the okra pods from clumping together. Place your baking tray of okra towards the back of the freezer for the initial freeze.
Leave the okra to freeze for around 5 hours, then check to see if the pods have frozen solid. If not, leave them a little longer but no longer than 7 hours as they could develop freezer burn.
- Transfer to a Container
Once properly frozen, you can move your okra to a more convenient airtight container or freezer bag.
Don’t forget to label your okra with a use-by date. Okra can be frozen for up to a year, after which the pods start to lose their flavour and do not cook as well, either.
The good news is that you do not need to defrost okra to use it. All you need to do to defrost okra is take as much as you need out of the freezer and add it directly to your dish.
How to Freeze Okra Successfully
If you follow the above method, you should have no difficulty freezing okra and getting the best tasting experience when ready to use it. However, okra is full of uses, featured in various recipes, and prepared in various ways.
Here are a few tips that will help you successfully freeze okra no matter how you intend to use it later on:
- Cover in Corn Flour for Easy Frying – A common way of using okra is to fry it. Cover your cut-up okra pieces in corn flour for the crispiest okra between steps 6 and 7. Then when you are ready to fry the okra, simply prepare your oil and drop the frozen corn-floured okra directly into the oil. You can add some seasoning to the corn flour for maximum taste.
- Do Not Let Frozen Okra Thaw – When ready to use your frozen okra, don’t leave it on the counter to thaw. The sudden extra moisture will ruin its potential crispness and softness. Instead, wait until you are ready to add the fruit directly to your recipe before taking the okra out of the freezer.
- Set a Timer When Blanching – The key to blanching any ingredient for freezing is not cooking it all the way through but just enough to stop the enzymes from naturally decaying once frozen. Set a timer when blanching okra to prevent cooking the pods too much.
Does Okra Freeze Well?
Yes, okra does freeze well when you complete the necessary steps to help preserve the okra’s versatile texture and flavour. Do not skip out on blanching your okra, and you can be sure to have delicious frozen okra to hand whenever you need it.
Freezing Okra FAQs
Do you still have questions about freezing okra? Then these FAQs might help:
Although it is safe to freeze okra without blanching it, it’s not a good idea. You’ll find that the texture, flavour and colour all degrade much quicker in the freezer when it has not been blanched beforehand.
Sliced okra can be frozen but will not last for as long in the freezer. There is a greater risk of the okra being impacted by freezer burn when frozen in slices.
Yes, okra curry can be frozen. Allow it to cool to room temperature before portioning into good-quality freezer bags. Seal the bags up, remove as much air as possible, and place them into the freezer.
Yes, cooked okra can be frozen in freezer bags for around 3 months. It’s a good idea to freeze it on a baking tray beforehand to prevent the okra from clumping together.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.