Freezing is a technique to extend the shelf life of food. By freezing, you can keep just about anything for far longer without worrying about the food’s freshness.
Okra is one of the many produce that you could freeze to extend the shelf life. However, it is not merely about throwing your harvested okra into the freezer. There are some guidelines to follow to ensure that your efforts will produce the best results.
Here are some tips on how to freeze okra and extend its shelf life up to nine months with a regular freezer and up to fourteen months in deep freeze.
Tip #1: The best way to preserve the freshest okra is to harvest one. Pick okras that are young, tender, and fresh. You can tell by its color and texture. The fresh varieties are okra pods that are green in color and are soft. Also, you should do away with okra pods that have puncture marks and brown spots.
Tip #2: Wash the okra pods in lukewarm or cold water. Use a strainer to drain the water off before you put the okra in containers. Classify your harvested okra according to size, separating the small ones from the large ones.
Tip #3: Cut off the stems with a sharp knife. Make sure that you only cut off to the very end of the pods and not into seed cells.
Tip #4: It is advisable that you blanch the okra before putting them into the freezer. Blanch in batches. The small okras should be placed into boiling water and left for three minutes while the large ones should be left for a little longer, about four to five minutes. After blanching, put the okras directly onto ice water to stop the cooking process immediately, then to a strainer to drain off excess liquid.
Tip #5: Put the blanched okra into a freezer bag, getting as much of the air out of the bag as possible.
Tip #6: If you will not be putting the okra into the freezer right after you harvest them, it is best that you put them into the refrigerator. Also, do not let the okra sit longer than 30 minutes before boiling them, especially if you have cut down the stems already.
Okra is best eaten fried or as an ingredient in a veggie dish. If you are harvesting a lot at the same time, you should learn more okra recipes than usual. You must also learn to preserve them by freezing them, giving them a longer shelf life.