Friday, October 19, 2012

FREEZE FRAME! Not really!! How do you freeze okra?

There are many perks that come with working on a church staff. It is rare for someone to scream and curse at you (that is a biggie after working in the corporate world!). Let's see . . .what are some other perks? I get to serve communion often (really love that one). We can pray or read our Bible and no one will turn us in to "someone in charge." Lots of good perks!! Today's perk is about okra!! Several times a year, people just show up in the church office with "gifts" for us to share. A week or so ago, one of our fine members (as a matter of fact, he is one of the few members who will ever say "amen" or "hallelujah" out loud!!) brought us some of the bounty from his garden. I brought a giant sack of okra home and fried some (using another church members recipe) and then I didn't want to waste the remainder . . .so I decided to freeze it to use in my gumbo on New Year's Eve. I had no idea how to freeze okra so I googled "how to freeze okra." Works every time. This is what you do . . . the first step is to simply wash the okra.

Next step is to cut off the little stem BUT don't cut down into the seed pod.  You know why you don't want to cut down into the seed pod?  It will make the water and okra all slimy!!  You can see from the photos that I was standing in my kitchen with the afternoon sun pouring through the windows!!

Fill a pot in the sink with ice and water (you will need it soon!!)

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil.  As soon as the water is boiling, drop the okra into the boiling water and set the kitchen timer for 3 minutes.

Let that okra boil for 3 minutes.  If you  have large pods, let it boil for 4 minutes.  This okra was perfect - small tender pods picked lovingly at just the right time!!

As soon as the timer goes off, pour the okra and boiling water into a colander and IMMEDIATELY drop the okra into the "ice bath" that you prepared earlier.  This stops the cooking process.

I then cut the okra into desired size pieces (just perfect for gumbo or homemade soup) and spread it out on a cookie sheet and popped the whole cookie sheet into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.

After 30 minutes or so, I took the okra out of the freezer and put it into freezer bags. I zipped the closing almost closed (on the baggie) and stuck a straw down through the tiny hole and sucked out all the air (cheap woman's way to vacuum seal!!). The okra will be wonderful to use later in the winter!! p.s. I hate boiled okra but I love to use it in soup and gumbo!!
p.s.s. I grew up in a very blue collar family and we always called it "okry" . . .I believe I was a young adult before I realized that it is really "okra"

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