tart with fresh okra. Don't attempt to freeze okra that is underripe or past its peak, or you won't be pleased with the taste and texture of the okra when you thaw it later. Choose brightly-colored, well-formed okra without mushy spots or bruising.
If possible, pick the okra fresh. This enables you to freeze the okra before it starts degrading, and will result in the best-tasting okra later on.
If you don't grow your own okra or can't get to a farm, try buying it a farmer's market or from a store that regularly restocks. You don't want okra that's been sitting on a shelf for several days.
Wash the okra. Rinse away dirt and debris using a steady stream of cool water. Handle the okra gently, massaging away dirt instead of scrubbing it off. Okra is a rather fragile vegetable and will bruise easily if handled roughly.
Trim off the stems. Use a sharp knife to trim off the tips of the okra. Don't remove the entire cap that covers the seed cell; just trim the stems. Exposing the seed cell will cause the okra to break down quickly when you blanch it.
Prepare a pot of boiling water. Pour water into a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. This will be used to blanch the okra.
Prepare an ice bath. Fill a bowl with ice and water. The okra will be plunged into the bowl immediately after blanching to stop it from overcooking.
Blanch the okra for 3 - 4 minutes.
Place the okra in the boiling water. If the okra pieces are large, they'll need to be boiled for 4 minutes. Blanch them for just 3 minutes if they're on the small side. After the time is up, remove the okra from the pot with a slotted spoon.
If you have a mixture of small and large pieces of okra, sort them before blanching. Blanch the small pieces for 3 minutes and the large pieces for 4 minutes. Doing it separately will preserve the texture of each.
Blanching vegetables kills the enzymes that cause them to continue to ripen and eventually rot, thus helping preserve their color, flavor and texture. If you neglect to blanch the okra before freezing it, you'll end up with mushy, flavorless okra when you thaw it.
Plunge the okra into the ice bath for 3 - 4 minutes. As a general rule, you should chill blanched vegetables for the same amount of time that you blanched them. So if you blanched small pieces of okra for 3 minutes, chill them for 3. If you blanched large pieces for 4 minutes, chill them for 4.
Drain and dry the okra. Place the okra on a cutting board or tray and let them dry before proceeding.