Get ready to make gumbo, soup and casseroles with the versatile (and extremely healthy) vegetable, okra. Fry it or boil it, but first, make sure you store it properly. With some everyday tools and a few simple steps, you can store it correctly and be prepared for whatever okra recipe strikes your fancy.
Gather fresh okra and place it in a colander. Run cold or lukewarm water over the okra and rinse thoroughly. Drain the okra and transfer to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the stems. Discard the stems. (Move quickly to the next step, as okra that has been cut and left sitting for more than 30 minutes will begin to discolor.)
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Place ice and cold water in a large bowl and set it to the side. Add the okra to the boiling water for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer the okra to the bowl filled with ice water. Let the okra stand in the ice water for 3 minutes to cool thoroughly, then drain. (Blanching preserves nutrients that would otherwise be destroyed during the freezing process.)
Put the drained okra into a plastic storage bag (suitable for freezing) and seal it. Remove as much air as possible when closing; this will help prevent freezer burn. The okra will store in the freezer for up to 9 months. For short-term storage, okra can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. When storing okra in the refrigerator, do not wash it before putting it into a plastic bag, because the moisture will promote mold growth.