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How to Freeze Fresh Okra

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Not sure how to freeze okra? No worries, I’ve got you covered! Freezing okra for use later is a quick and easy way to keep this veggie on hand in the kitchen well past those hot summer months that okra loves so much! And this method of putting up okra in the freezer comes without the hot water blanching. Check it out!

fresh okra on wooden cutting board and cut okra in a bag

How to Freeze Fresh Okra

Okra, the jewel of the southern garden, can get a bad rap for being… well, slimy. You’ll find that most people are either okra lovers or haters, and thankfully most of my family is in the lover category. (Particularly if said vegetable is fried, ahem.) If you’ve ever grown okra in the garden, then you know that once it starts coming in, it can be difficult to eat it all.

Once you begin to harvest okra (check out my post here on when to harvest) you have a few days to use it before it starts turning brown and soft in spots. Learning how to freeze okra for use later is easy as pie thanks to my granny.affiliate link policy

Granny imparted her okra-preserving wisdom on me for this “recipe.” She doesn’t keep track of oven temperatures or how many minutes it should be in there, so there was a bit of testing on my end. But the result was non-slimy okra ready to go in the freezer in 15 minutes from start to finish. Voila! So if you’re having a busy week, and unable to cook okra before it goes bad, here’s an easy way to know how to freeze okra for use later.

Can you freeze okra without cooking it?

The short answer is yes, but I would advise against it. The process of baking (or blanching if you want to go that route) helps break down enzymes in the okra. Breaking these down helps preserve the flavor and texture of the okra itself.  So though it’s an extra step, I highly recommend it!

Instructions for Freezing Okra

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wash your tender okra pods in cool water and drain in a colander. Once relatively dry, move them to a cutting board, and decide how you’d like to cut them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  fresh okra pods on a wooden cutting board
  2. Cut okra and place on rimmed baking sheet. I like to cut mine into 1/2 inch pieces for easy use in smoothies and soups. (If you’ve never had frozen okra in a smoothie, you’re totally missing out. The Trim Healthy Mama book introduced me to this.)                                                                                                                                                         sliced okra on a metal sheet pan
  3. Place baking sheet in preheated oven for 3-4 minutes. You just want the okra pieces warmed through, not cooked.                                                                                                baked and sliced okra on a metal sheet pan
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. The moisture that was on the okra has dried a bit after the short time in the oven, and once cool, they are ready for the freezer.
  5. Place cooled okra in labeled freezer bags, and use throughout the fall and winter as needed!                                                                                                                                   ziploc bag full of okra sliced and ready for the freezer

Okra Freezing Options:

  • If you prefer fried okra (or “oven fried”) then you can go ahead and coat your cooled okra in cornmeal before putting it in the freezer bags.
  • For freezing okra whole, cut off the tops and warm the pods in the oven. Then freeze as usual.

These freezing instructions are great for those growing okra in your home gardens. But it also is perfect if you happen to grab some fresh okra from your local farmer’s market. Fresh is fresh, and buying local veggies in season is always better than shipped-from-who-knows-where out of season. So buy up (or pick) that okra now and “put it up” (as we southerners say) for use later.

How long does it take to cook frozen okra?

There really isn’t much difference in the time it takes to cook frozen okra versus fresh. A few more minutes in the oven or in the pot/skillet should do the trick. For my oven roasted okra recipe, I would add just a few minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.

I’d love to know what your favorite okra dish is. Comment below and let me know, because I’m always looking for news ways to use this super vegetable!

Freezing Other Garden Goods:

How to Freeze Tomatoes

How to Freeze Blueberries

How to Freeze Strawberries

How to Freeze Green Beans

 

Yield: One Gallon Bag

How to Freeze Fresh Okra

freezing okra

Learn how to freeze okra and extend your harvest well into the fall and winter. Preserving the harvest by freezing is a quick and easy way to have okra on hand!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Materials

  • Fresh Okra
  • Ziploc Freezer Bags

Tools

  • Sheet Pan
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Then begin by washing okra. Then slice okra into 1/2 inch thick discs. Try to keep them uniform.
  2. Place sliced okra on a sheet pan and place in preheated oven for 3-4 minutes or until just warmed through.
  3. Remove okra from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Once cool, scoop okra into freezer bags and place in freezer.
  5. Once okra is frozen, use as needed!

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I'd love to hear from you

Melody

Thursday 15th of October 2020

The temperature at the top says 350, the recipe says 300. Will you please post or send the correct temperature. I have 12 lbs of okra to put up and would really like to try your method.

Courtney

Friday 16th of October 2020

Hi Melody, so sorry for any confusion; I've adjusted the instructions, but you could really use either. You just want to dry the okra out a bit. Hope this helps!

Elizabeth Rossi

Sunday 6th of September 2020

I printed the recipe and realized that you didn't give the oven temp. You might want to add it. Thank you,

Courtney

Sunday 6th of September 2020

Goodness, thank you!

Rachel R.

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! As I was reading, all I could think was, yeah. But how will they work later in shakes?? Then I saw your comment about THM!!! I've grown up eating okra my whole life(southern girl here), but the blanching part has been daunting for some reason. This really helped! Picking about 2 gallons every day has left me overwhelmed. But I know I'd be set till next summer if I knew how to freeze it all for future use! Thank you again!

Courtney

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

You are so welcome! I love THM!

Frankie

Sunday 30th of August 2020

My recipe for fried okra is to use buttermilk first, stir, then add a little corn meal, stir, then add flour. This helps breading to stay on best. Can I do this before freezing?

Courtney

Monday 31st of August 2020

Hi Frankie! I know breading before freezing is certainly an option, and I don't see why adding the buttermilk soak ahead of time would hurt anything. Let me know if you give it a try!

Jim V

Thursday 27th of August 2020

Tried your suggestion, much easier and am sure will turn out fine when thawed, thanks for sharing

Courtney

Friday 28th of August 2020

You're very welcome!

I'd love to hear from you

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