Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blanching Okra And Freezing Breaded Okra


When the mercury climbs in the summer time we usually know the okra won't be far behind. And this year the heat has been late coming but the okra is really delivering right now.  Although the okra pictured above looks large it is still good because it is the variety Cajun Cowhorn and it stays tender even though it is larger unlike many okras. 

Very few of my neighbors grow okra and even fewer eat it unless it is fried in cornmeal. For us okra is a regular vegetable enjoyed often in our meal rotations. 

I bring the okra inside after cutting it in the cool mornings and put it in the sink and run cold water over it to cool it off. Then I wash it well with a clean cloth and water to remove any dirt etc. Then I lay it out in my cool kitchen to dry on an absorbent kitchen towel. You want to make sure  the okra pods are good and dry before cutting into them with a dry knife. If you don't and your okra comes into contact with water then you get slime! That is just the nature of okra.    



Once my okra is good and dry then I take a dry knife and slice it. Sometimes I slice it on my mandolin slicer if I have lots to slice just to make the job faster. If you cut into a pod and it seems hard then do yourself a favor and pitch it. Once okra gets woody it is not much good for anything other than maybe chicken or pig food.  


Next step I take my sliced okra and place it in 9 X 13 glass baking dishes, cover it with plastic wrap and run it through my microwave for 3 minutes. Then I consider it blanched. Okra is one of the few vegetables I dry blanch like this because when you do it this way it does not slime. If you drop sliced okra in a pot of boiling water then you get the biggest bunch of slimy goo you have ever seen. 


When I do it this way it comes out nice and cooked and ready to freeze, bread or dehydrate. 


If you just want to freeze sliced okra then simply take your blanched okra slices and lay them out on trays and freeze them. Then they are ready to bag. 



If I want to bread them I love this new way of taking the blanched okra, and dipping it in milk and egg, then in a mixture of cornbread and flour and then placing it on a tray that I have wiped with a little coconut oil. 


I use a mixture of about 2 cups corn meal to a cup of flour. I actually prefer using corn flour to corn meal when I have it. 


You can season the cornmeal with your seasonings of choice according to you own family and their tastes.


Then I have started taking that breaded okra and placing it on a tray and baking it according to a reader for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. This partially cooks the okra and helps to harden the breading so that it is much less likely to come off in the freezing process. I have also found that when you take it out of the freezer and cook it in the oven or fried that it does not take as long to cook. 

Once your okra has baked for 20 minutes take the trays out of the oven and allow them to cool completely then place them in the freezer and allow to freeze.




Once my breaded okra is frozen then we place it in vacuum bags and freeze.  


Sliced okra is bagged as soon as it is frozen also in vacuum bags then labeled and added back to the freezer. 


The third way you can preserve it is to place it on dehydrator trays as soon as it is blanched and dehydrate until crisp. 

Now in the Ball Blue Book they do not tell you to blanch the okra before dehydrating but I find I have less problems with it when I do.  



Once crisp allow to cool and place in bags or jars and seal with oxygen absorbers or a vacuum attachment.  I like this for soups but they say you can rehydrate and bread and fry it like this but I have never tried it. 

Hope this helps some of you with that okra crop. 

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter

15 comments:

  1. I like fried okra very much, but okra won't grow in our cool mountain climate. A few years ago we took a trip to S.C. to visit all of my mom's side of the family and I couldn't get enough fried okra (LOL) as I knew it would be the last for a very long time.

    Thanks for another wonderful and educational post.

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  2. I bread some and freeze them dehydrate for soups and grind some for winter dishes and children that don't eat enough veggies
    add to almost any sauce

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  3. Love that breading thing. Where did you get it and who is the maker? I really could use one!

    Your blog is my guide, just to instructional and wonderful. We just purchased 2.5 acres and will be putting much of your advice to use next next.

    Thank you
    Mary K

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  4. I was wondering how you were blanching them when you mentioned it in a past post. I was thinking 'how's she doing that without a slime fest?!?!' Microwave...good tip.
    I'm with MLK, I love the breading bowl. I've never seen one. I googled and found 'The Better Breader Bowl' would that be the one you have? Actually, in googling, I found several others. Just never thought about one until I saw yours.

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    Replies
    1. I have to say CQ, you have the best little gadgets....and i'm making note of all of them :)

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  5. Very helpful.The last time we cooked okra, we just sliced it & sauteed w/o any breading & it was good. Of course, I absolutely love it breaded.

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  6. I love love love Okra.. unless its cooked with tomatoes.. :P I'll eat it though..
    Thanks for sharing what you do with okra.. Its beautiful!

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  7. This post couldn't have come at a better time! I put some up yesterday. I hate the slime of okra, and will be blanching it by microwave from now on. Thanks for the info!

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  8. Need your help my beans were beautiful then the blight hit, cleaned off beans and replanted in different part of garden and now they have the blight. What can or do I
    need to do?

    Thank you for your help!

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  9. I appreciated the tips on how to keep the slime down! I like the flavor of Okra but am picky about textures, so the slime makes it hard for me to eat. I'll definitely be dehydrating or freezing some now!

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  10. My Dad loved okra, and he always had an okra patch where ever he lived. When he passed away last September, I saw an old okra pod on the ground in his garden. I took it home with me to plant the seeds in the spring. I have a very nice okra patch of my own now, grown from my dad's seed pod. I have been trying to blanch it, but no one mentions how slimy the pods get when you do this, nor what to do about it! From now on, I am going to use the microwave!

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  11. Do I still need to dip in iced water after microwave blanching

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  12. Thank you! Wish I had seen this before blanching the usual way! Lol! Yes, a slimy mess! So now I know what to do, and since my okra is coming in like gangbusters, you have saved the day! I wasn't raised around okra so didn't know what to do with it.

    ReplyDelete

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