Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Freezing Okra

No photo today. Just a bit of thinking. For the "Sugar & Spice" column in The Lancaster News, I included a blurb about freezing okra. Here is what I said:

"Okra is coming in abundantly now and it’s a good time to lay some by for those winter soups. Start a pot of water boiling. Wash the okra pods and cut off the stem ends without cutting into the pods. Drop the okra into the boiling water and allow it to cook for 4 minutes. If your okra is small, cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pods from the water and cool immediately by dropping into a bowl of ice water. Drain. Slice the okra into rounds or leave whole. Pack into zip-top bags, being sure to leave 1/2 inch of headspace in the bag when sealed. Freeze. Vegetables can be frozen for 8-12 months at 0 degrees.
From the Iowa State University Extension Service"

What I did NOT say is that my own preferred method is to skip the blanching and just cut the okra into 1-inch pieces and freeze them. I did this last year because I'd been advised that I could freeze bell peppers without blanching them. I just chopped the peppers into medium-sized pieces and froze them in snack-sized bags. I figured...what could happen? It's not like I'm going to thaw the okra and eat it raw. It goes into soups and gumbos. So I just skipped the blanching.

I'm still alive.

I did find a spot on Cooks.com that suggests freezing without blanching. But I'm not going to have that printed in the paper. When it comes to advising others, better to be safe than sorry.

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