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How To Freeze Okra With Cornmeal

How to Freeze Okra with Cornmeal: Full Guide

Last Updated on June 22, 2024 by Lori Walker

Craving the yummy taste of homegrown okra all year round? Lucky for you, there’s a super easy way to achieve that!

Freezing okra with cornmeal is a fantastic way to preserve its flavor and crunchiness. 

I remember the first time I tried this delicious trick in the kitchen. It’s super easy, and you can enjoy crispy okra. You only need fresh okra, cornmeal, and a few simple steps. 

Let me walk you through how to freeze okra with cornmeal, and you’ll be savoring its goodness whenever you want.

5 Easy Tips To Freeze Okra With Cornmeal

Close Up Image of an Okara Coated with Cornmeal

1. Slice the Okra

Begin by slicing all the okra into rounds about 1/4 thick. This step prepares the okra for the cornmeal coating.

2. Coat In Cornmeal

Take the sliced okra [1] and coat it with cornmeal. There’s no need for precise measurements here; the amount of cornmeal depends on how much okra you have. 

Ensure each piece of okra is fully coated with the cornmeal mixture. But how long is cornmeal good for?

3. Shake To Mix

Place the coated okra evenly in a large bowl or a ziplock bag to distribute the cornmeal evenly. If you’re using a bowl, cover it with a large plate or a pot lid, then give it a good shake. 

“Okra is the closest thing to nylon I’ve ever eaten. It’s like they bred cotton with a green bean. Okra, tastes like snot. The more you cook it, the more it turns into string.”

Robin Williams, American Actor and Comedian

This step ensures that the cornmeal thoroughly coats the okra.

4. Remove Excess Breading

After shaking, use a slotted spoon or your hands to separate the okra from the remaining bread. It will prevent your frozen okra from being too thickly coated.

Find out if it is okay to use flour instead of bread crumbs here.

5. Flash Freeze

Arrange the coated okra pieces in a single layer on a large baking sheet. 

Position the baking sheet in the freezer and allow it to freeze for a few hours until the okra reaches a fully frozen state.

How Long Is Okra Good For In The Freezer?

Frozen okra is a handy way to preserve this delightful vegetable, but it won’t stay perfect forever. Typically, frozen okra remains at its best quality for about six months in the freezer. 

This timeframe should see you through to the next growing season if you’re an avid gardener.

After the 6-month mark, the okra may still be safe to eat but could lose some flavor and texture. 

Achieve the best flavor and consistency by labeling the freezing date on your frozen okra, enabling you to track its storage time.

Is It Better To Freeze Okra With Or Without Breading?

Okra

If you plan to fry your okra later, it’s better to freeze it with breading. Here’s why. First, freezing okra with cornmeal or flour coating helps maintain its crispy texture and flavor. 

You’ll still get that delightful crunch when you fry it after freezing. Secondly, pre-coating your okra before freezing saves time when you’re ready to cook. 

You can go straight from the freezer to the frying pan without breading. 

To freeze okra with breading, slice it crosswise after blanching [2], dredge the slices in cornmeal or flour, and then freeze them on a parchment-lined tray before transferring them to freezer bags. 

Is It Preferable To Freeze Okra As Whole Pieces Or Cut?

If you enjoy dishes like gumbo that traditionally use whole okra pods, freezing them naturally is a suitable choice. 

On the other hand, if you often incorporate okra into recipes where it’s chopped into bite-sized pieces, such as stews or fried okra, it’s preferable to cut it before freezing. 

Chopped okra is more convenient to work with and blends well into various dishes. 

So, whether you go with whole okra pods or chopped pieces, tailor your freezing method to suit your cooking style and the recipes you love.

How Can You Prevent Frozen Okra From Becoming Slimy?

Opt for quick, high-heat cooking methods like deep frying, sautéing, or grilling to prevent frozen okra from becoming slimy when you thaw and cook it. 

The sliminess in okra, also known as mucilage, tends to overdevelop when exposed to prolonged low heat or moisture, such as in slow cooking or boiling. 

“When life gives you okra, freeze it with cornmeal – a simple secret to enjoying homegrown goodness whenever you please.”

Leonelli Bakery

These quick cooking techniques help to rapidly evaporate excess moisture and prevent the mucilage from becoming sticky. 

Read: How Do You Make Pancakes With Cake Flour?

FAQs

How do you extend the shelf life of freshly cut okra?

To extend the shelf life of freshly cut okra, store it in a paper bag or wrap it in a paper towel. Then, place it inside a perforated plastic bag. 

This method helps to keep the okra pods very dry, preventing moisture buildup and prolonging their freshness.

How can you tell if the okra is too hard to be consumed?

You can tell if okra is too hard to be consumed by checking its texture. Okra fruits typically turn hard or woody after about five or six days from bloom. 

If it’s so tough that you can’t bite it, it’s well past its prime, and it’s best to discard it. But how can you cornbread without cornmeal?

How can you identify good-quality okra?

Identifying good quality okra is easy. Look for pinkie-sized and slim pods with no bulging middle, indicating a pod that is too mature.

When you gently bend the pointy tip, if it feels firm, you’ve found fresh okra, perfect for your recipes.

Final Remarks

Freezing okra with cornmeal is a fantastic way to preserve this delicious vegetable for future use. And I’ve shared several key aspects of this process. 

Firstly, slicing the okra into rounds and thoroughly coating them with cornmeal is essential for achieving that delightful crunch. 

Next, flash freezing on a tray before transferring to freezer bags is the best method. As for freezer life, I’ve learned that frozen okra remains at its peak quality for about six months. 

Consider your preferred cooking style when deciding whether to freeze okra with or without breading. 

Lastly, I’ve found that quick, high-heat cooking methods are the key to avoiding the dreaded sliminess. 

With these insights, you’ll be well-prepared to freeze okra with cornmeal, preserve its flavor and texture, and enjoy the taste of summer all year round. 

References:

  1. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/okra-benefits/
  2. https://www.clemson.edu/extension/food/canning/canning-tips/43why-blanch.html
Lori Walker

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