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Fresh fried okra is a summertime favorite, but by harvesting okra correctly and using the right preparation method when freezing, it can be enjoyed year-round in many different recipes.
Look for young, tender okra pods no longer than 4 to 6 inches, without bruises or dark streaks. Use a sharp knife to cut the pods off about half an inch below the okra cap. Growing okra in the home garden means having to harvest it every other day since it grows quickly in hot weather. Wear gloves and long sleeves when harvesting okra to protect yourself from the plant's prickly hairs.
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Wash the okra, and cut off the caps and the bottom tips and discard them. Slime is normal, just be careful with the knife. Slice each pod crosswise into half-inch-thick sections. The okra seeds are edible, so don't try to remove them. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lay the okra slices in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Place the sheet in the 350-degree oven for 10 minutes to dry-blanch the okra. Let the okra cool, then place the slices in freezer bags and freeze.
Take the okra out of the freezer anytime fried okra is wanted or for soups and gumbos. Simply toss the still frozen okra with flour, salt and pepper, and then fry in a little hot oil. Okra will fry up fine right from the freezer and won't be soggy.
The Clemson Spineless cultivar has proven itself to be a great garden variety for both freezing and fried okra. The fresher the okra, the better it will slice up for okra recipes later on, so try to process it within a few hours of harvesting if possible.