Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Preserving and Storing your Okra

Pickled okra

Pickled okra

Okra is a delicate vegetable, with a short fresh shelf life. There are several things you can do to keep your freshly harvested okra on hand.

  • Bag it: If you’re going to use it in the next three to four days, store unwashed okra in a plastic bag with holes, or a mesh vegetable bag. Don’t wash the pods until right before you cook them.
  • Pickle it: Put washed pods whole into a pickling brine, or slice and store in brine.
  • Freeze it:
    • Method One: Steam whole pods and cool completely. Put cooled pods on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for an hour. Remove from the freezer and layer in a freezer bag or other freezer container, putting a sheet of waxed paper between the layers.
    • Method Two: For future fried dishes, blanch pods in boiling water for three minutes, then slice pods into discs and toss with seasoned flour or corn meal. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer just long enough for them to freeze. Quickly pack them up in freezer bags or freezer-safe containers.
      • Note: Smooth okra, such as Emerald Green Velvet Okra, will freeze better than okra with ridges, since the smooth pods don’t split as easily.
  • Dehydrate it: You don’t have to have a dehydrator to dehydrate your okra; you can dehydrate okra in your oven. Set the oven to the lowest heat setting possible. Slice the okra into little wagon wheels and spread them out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. It could take 10 to 15 hours (or more) for your okra to fully dehydrate, so you’ll need to check on it regularly—at least once an hour the first time you try this. Turn the whole sheet after a few hours to ensure equal heat distribution. Once the okra is completely dry, let it cool. Then store it in an airtight container, away from the light. You can eat it as a healthy snack or use it to cook in soups or stews.

How do you store your okra harvest? Share your tips for the best way to store okra.

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