How to Freeze Okra

Okra is a Southern favorite, thanks to its heat-loving disposition. Stock up on okra in season and freeze it for later use.

Organic grower "Farmer D" Daron Joffe holds organic okra. Okra is susceptible to damage from nematodes, so it should follow a crop rotation using corn or grass crops. Okra should not follow other crops that are highly susceptible to nematodes such as squash and sweet potatoes.

Okra holds its own in hot summer weather, which is one reason it earns top billing in Southern fare. When okra starts ripening, the pods pile up fast. Freezing okra ensures this green goodness can make mealtime appearances all winter long. You can learn how to freeze okra without too much effort, using one of several easy methods.

As with any vegetable, you'll get the best results when you start with the freshest okra you can find. The ridged varieties tend to split easily, so try to grow or purchase smooth-podded types for freezing. Fresh, top-quality pods should be firm and crisp. Test a tip or two—on a fresh pod, it should snap easily. Avoid any okra with spots, pits, or other signs of decay.

As you consider how to freeze okra, think about the ways you'll use the frozen product. Choose a method that preserves the okra in a way that's easiest to use after freezing. No matter which method you use, start by washing pods. If you plan to blanch in boiling water, sort pods by size, grouping them into either small (under 4 inches) or large (over 5 inches). Small pods typically offer a more tender taste.

Freeze Vegetables From Your Garden

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Fresh Broccoli Beats Store-Bought Every Time

Want to enjoy fresh-from-the-garden broccoli all year long? It's a snap to freeze this fiber-rich veggie to use in stir fries, soup and more. Learn the process for how to freeze broccoli in this article by Julie A. Martens.

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Overwhelmed with Cucumbers?

Cucumber vines can be prolific producers of the treasured summertime veggie. Don't think it's possible to freeze cucumbers? Well, the secret lies in the preparation. Learn how to freeze cucumbers for summer-fresh fare in any season.

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Never Have Too Many Cherry Tomatoes

While frozen cherry tomatoes are no longer fit to be used in tossed salads, you can blend them with herbs or use in soups and stew. In this article, Julie A. Martens offers several great uses for frozen cherry tomatoes and describes the best way to preserve them.

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Freeze Spinach for Soups and More

While you won't want to serve frozen spinach in fresh salads, the leaves will work nicely in soup, casseroles and stir fries. You'll just want to freeze young leaves. Avoid the older or yellowing leaves as they'll produce a nasty taste and rubbery texture. Ever tried making frozen spinach cubes? Get more tips on how to freeze spinach in this article on how to freeze spinach.

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Can You Freeze Kale?

Yes, you can freeze kale. Frozen kale works well in smoothies and blends well into quiches, crock pot stews and soups. Find more uses for frozen kale and how to best preserve this nutrient-packed green.

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Put Your Onions in the Deep Freeze

Too many onions to eat right away? Not a problem. They freeze easily, and can be used in a variety of ways. Learn how to prep onions for safe storage in the deep freeze, how to keep the onion odor low and when to use frozen onions in your dishes.  

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Freeze Asparagus for Great Flavor

While frozen asparagus spears won't be as crisp as garden-fresh stems, they can still be used in many dishes. Here are the steps to preserving this nutrient-dense vegetable and some ideas on how to use frozen asparagus to add flavor to your meals.

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Can You Freeze Garlic Cloves?

You definitely can freeze garlic. In fact, you can freeze garlic in many ways. While frozen garlic lacks the crunchy texture of fresh, the flavor remains strong—and definitely won't have the chemical taste that sometimes accompanies jarred garlic. Learn several ways to freeze garlic and how to use it to add flavor to food.

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How Do You Freeze Eggplant?

Eggplant doesn't keep very long, and you won't be able to can it without pulverizing it beyond recognition. So, how do you preserve your delicious eggplant? Forget your canner and learn how to freeze eggplant. Here are several freezing methods you can try.

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Enjoy a Summertime Favorite All Year

Learn how to freeze corn and you'll be able to enjoy this summertime treat all year—even with your holiday turkey. Freezing corn is simple, and it's a great way to introduce kids to food preservation. Learn the steps to freezing corn in this article by Julie A. Martens.

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How to Freeze Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts bring more than taste to the table. This cabbage cousin boasts vitamins and is high in protein, so you'll want to make your locally-grown Brussels sprouts last. Learn the two ways to freeze Brussels sprouts and ways to include this frozen super veggie on your table.

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Steps to Freezing Cabbage

Want to enjoy the nutrition offered by cabbage all year? This unsung hero of the vegatable garden adapts well to the freezing process. Start with dense, solid heads that feel weighty for their size. Learn more about the steps to freezing cabbage in this article from Julie A. Martens.

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Freeze Celery for Soups

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Overstocked on Mushrooms?

Mushrooms might last about a week in the refrigerator, which might not be enough time to enjoy the bounty you may have grown or foraged. Consider freezing mushrooms. Learn which method of freezing mushrooms works best, and get some ideas for how to use them in recipes.

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After washing, remove stems by cutting them off, but slice carefully because you don't want to cut into the seed cell. To blanch okra, add pods to boiling water. Steam small pods 3 minutes; large ones 4 minutes. Cool pods quickly by placing them in ice water for the same amount of time you boiled them.

After cooling, you have several options for freezing okra. Place whole pods into airtight freezer bags or containers. Or cut pods crosswise prior to freezing. For either method, you can also individually quick freeze pods or pieces by placing them on a parchment-lined tray and slipping it into the freezer for a few hours. Once they're frozen, place them into freezer bags. If you plan to fry okra later, after blanching, slice pods crosswise and dredge with cornmeal or flour. Freeze slices on a parchment-lined tray before placing into freezer bags.

Frozen blanched okra works well in gumbo, boiled, stewed, smothered, or fried. It's usually simplest and easiest to freeze whole pods, and it's a cinch to prepare them later. To slice frozen whole okra, allow pods to thaw slightly before cutting crosswise.

Many Southern cooks like to slice, bread and bake or fry okra prior to freezing. To bake, place plain or breaded slices on a pan and bake in a 300-degree oven 20 minutes. Turn okra once halfway through the baking time. To fry, place plain or breaded okra slices in hot oil in a skillet. Cook for six to eight minutes on medium heat, stirring every so often. With both of these preparations, individually quick freeze slices on parchment-lined trays before stashing pieces in freezer bags or containers. To use these slices, heat in a skillet or oven.

If you have a vacuum sealer, don't remove all the air from your pouches, or you risk crushing the okra. This is especially true if you have sliced and breaded the okra prior to freezing. For best flavor, use whole frozen okra within a year and sliced pods within nine months.