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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Puttin' up the Okra... thank you Candy...

At lunch last week... Candy prompted me to think about putting up some of the Okra we've been harvesting and eating.... every day... So here ya go Candy... this one is especially for you! (I really don't like the sliminess of Okra when preparing it for canning or freezing... which is why I needed Candy's prompt.)
I usually "size" my Okra in 3-categories before canning... small for frying; medium for using in stews etc.; large for seeds...
After sizing, I "sort" the Okra for parboiling/blanching... same size equals same cooking time..

"Cap" them and "tip" them with a sharp pruning knife without cutting into the seed pod.

Place into boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on size). Make sure lid is tight fitting in order to keep the water boiling.

As soon as parboiling/blanching time is up, immediately douse Okra into ice water to stop cooking process.

After cooling for 3-5 minutes... drain in colendar and then...
Let Okra dry on clean dish towel until you have enough parboiled/blanched and ready to prepare for the freezer.

If you are going to be frying your Okra, you can coat with a mixture of cornmeal and flour prior to freezing.

Cut your Okra and coat with cornmeal mixture...

Spread in one layer on a baking sheet and freeze for about 2-hours in deep freeze...

These Okra are the mid-size that I use for stews... same process except for cutting and coating... just pop into the freezer before bagging... you want them to freeze separately...

Don't forget to label your freezer bags... use a straw to "suck out" all the extra air before sealing...

Whole Okra, frozen and ready for stews this fall...


and Okra frozen and ready for frying for Ricky this fall...

So now you know... that's some of what I've been up to down here in French Lique...

a note about parboiling/blanching: Vegetables are often parboiled/blanched prior to freezing or canning to help preserve the food by slowing down or halting enzyme action that causes foods to break down, losing color, flavor, and nutritional value. Vegetables stored this way will stay as good as fresh for up to about 14 months in your deep freeze... and that is why I go to "all that trouble"...


25 comments:

Willow said...

Wow Dixie. You make me what to try okra. I have never eaten it and after seeing you fixing it I just may give it a try.

Willow

bj said...

It just doesn't hardly get any better than fried okra. I like it boiled fairly well but I'd arm wrestle anyone for a big plate of it fried. And, yes, I always put the cornmeal/flour mixture on them before freezing.
Thanks for all the good instructions...
Stay cool...down there in French Lique...;O)

Cathy said...

You are such a good Texas girl!!!

I love okra any way it is made...but of course fried is the best!!!

Thanks for the tips!!!

Enjoy!!!
XOXO
Cathy

trash talk said...

Dixie,
We all know I am not the smartest pencil in the box and everyone else may know the straw trick, but I didn't! I am so excited to try that now that I'm going to look around for something to freeze!
I'll take okra boiled, fried, pickled, gumboed, any way you want to prepare it...I'll eat it. I do prefer the smaller pods for boiling..not as tough. A little slime never hurt anyone!
Debbie

Joycee said...

You put me to shame, Stillwell frozen okra is the one that shows up in my kitchen! I need to plant us some okra and save your instructions...
joy c. at grannymountain

Blondie's Journal said...

Dixie,

What a lot of great info in this post!! I have grown okra and although I knew to boil it and give it an ice bath, I never froze it seperately before dumping it into the freezer bag. You can imagine what it looked like coming out!!

With the breaded okra, do you just pop that in the oven while still frozen? With the unbreaded, do you let it thaw before using for cooking? And, what to you use the seeds for? I think you have another post here, Dixie!! LOL!!

Thanks for the tutorial!

xoxo
Jane

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Dixie darlin, there is nothing like fresh fried okra. Oh my gosh. It is so scrumtous. Yours looks out of this world. Great post, and thanks for sharing. Please stop by and say hi. I would love to hear from you. Country Hugs, Sherry

Dixie said...

Oh Jane... you're so funny... last question first...

the seeds... why we plant them next year dear...;)

thaw the okra before frying. I usually take it out of the bag and lay it on a papertowel to thaw- just to wick the moisture away from it...

boiling okra... don't have to thaw it.. just drop into your soup frozen...

and thanks for asking...

Charlotte said...

Now you're making my mouth water. I love love love okra.
Charlotte

Angela said...

Hey Dixie!

I'm afraid that I think okra must be an acquired taste. My mom never made it. I tried it at Ryans buffet and I didn't like it that well. I hate to say that with all of the okra loving people including you but I'm sure there are things that I like that no one else likes either. hehehe

Your instructions for freezing it are good!

I did see on the news last night about the weather there in Texas and the amount of rain that hasn't fallen. WOW!!! You must have watered your garden to get anything out of it! That is soooo sad what is happening to our farmers here in the USA! Some of this could be fixed if they would let them irrigate the water like they had in years past to save our crops but those little minnows are more important than humans!

Hugs,
Angela

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Girl you put to much work in your fried okra. I never blanch my frying okra anymore and it taste just as good as when I did. I like to put up the small okra for boiling now this I do blanch, much the same way you did. But the fried, I wash good, cut up and the cover in cornmeal and put in bags, I have a Vac-U-Sealer so I don't use the straw. I also chop up some of the larger pods for gumbos and soups, bag the same way as fried but don't add cornmeal..DH favorite is pickled okra and I usually make several jars of them every summer.
I like your pictures it's nice to know someone else enjoys saving for the winter months.
Molly

Susie Q said...

Excellent, well-written and produced tutorial. Okra is still not coming in my house. I'll leave more for other folks ;D

Boo-Bah said...

wow! Looks like you have a lot okra. I have never tasted it. It looks good though.

Iris

Itajeff @Something To Share said...

Hello Dixie..
We call it lady's finger and we normally cook it with fish curry or just boil it and eat it with sauce made with dried shrimp paste ('belacan'). Your fried okra is something new to me, would like to try it.

Have a nice day
Lots of luv,
Ita

Beth said...

hi,

I've never had okra. I'm not sure if we even have it up here in Maine... Hmmm... may have to do some investigating.

momma said...

thanks for these instructions. we love fried okra, but i grew up in the north and never knew how to prepare the stuff from the garden, so i had been buying it in the freezer section. i'll be giving this a try SOON!

Heidi Pocketbook said...

I've never had okra. One of my dear friends loved okra--a favorite restaurant usually had it and she loved it.

Ann said...

LOL, I don't think okra was really intended to eat.. I'm pretty sure it's just a weed.
Just kidding... I never really could acquire at taste for that stuff but it sure looks pretty in your pictures.

Jeanneoli said...

Oh my goodness that looks so good!!! My mom is from the South and I went to college in Montgomery....I am drooling right now!

caren said...

My mom used to make the best fried okra....I miss it (and her) so much! I tried to make it once...it turned into a big glob! My daughter still reminds me of that and laughs! Okra is so expensive here - Oh, how I miss the south!

~CC Catherine said...

Hey Sweet Friend, Your okra tutorial is fabulous! :) I'll bet it is terrific when fresh out of the garden! Hugs, ~CC Catherine

SmilingSally said...

Now, that's time well spent!

Candy said...

Good job, now I hope you are resting.

Did you bring the little blue chair home...that is if you stopped in Geronimo like you were thinking.

Friday blessings, Candy

Laura said...

This all looked so good I showed my husband your post. He loves fried okra with honey!

Next question-
When do you plant your okra and since your garden is so large do you put in a lot of everything?

Laura

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

I can make a meal off of just fried okra! Of course, my husband requires some meet and another vegetable with his, so I fix it, but I just eat a lotta fried okra! You just made me realize that our farmer friend who usually brings us okra hasn't brought any this year. He better show up soon! Your blog looks so pretty with all of the glittery sparkles. laurie