Okra is a delicious vegetable; it is easy to grow and easy to harvest. It is a simple garden task you will perform a few times a week. Okra only takes an average of four days after flowering to be ready to harvest. When the weather turns hot, you are going to have an abundance of okra.
The problem I have faced, and I am sure you have as well, is figuring out how to store okra after harvest. Chances are, you are going to have quite a bit available to eat.
Ideally, you will want to store some okra for later during the winter. This can seem like a difficult task when you are collecting okra every other day!
Here are some things to know about storing okra after harvest.
When to Pick Okra
Before you harvest your okra, you have to make sure you pick it at the right time. You need to pick the okra when the pods are 2 to 3 inches long. It is important to make sure you don’t wait too long to harvest. Okra can get hard with a woody taste when past the peak of freshness.
Waiting too long to harvest results in okra that can be nearly inedible. Besides the unattractive flavor, they can be very fibrous. This tends to happen when they grow longer than 4 inches. Left on their own, okra can grow to be a foot long!
Okra plants will continue to produce as long as you continue to harvest. So, the more you pick, the more you will have in the end. This will continue until cool weather begins to set in.
After Picking Okra
When your okra is ready to be picked, use a sharp knife or shears to cut the stem. The cut should be ¼ above the pod. You should decide when you want to eat the okra. This will help you decide how to store it properly.
Storing in the Refrigerator
If you want to use the okra within 3 to 4 days, the best way to store it is in the refrigerator. You don’t need to wash or cut it. Simply place the okra in a plastic bag and store it in the crisper drawer. Moisture can encourage mold growth.
These plants can produce heavily, leaving you with a hefty amount of okra to store. Unless you want to eat it every day for weeks, you are going to need to store it long term. Plus, everyone enjoys having some fresh produce in the winter months. Here are some important steps to freeze okra.
- Wash off okra in the sink and cut off the stem.
- You need to blanch the pods. So, put the whole pod into boiling water for around 3 minutes. You don’t want to cook them all the way. Then, put them directly into an ice bath to abruptly stop the cooking process.
- Drain the ice water and place into freezer bags. Frozen okra can last for 9 months or longer in the freezer.
Some people prefer to can their fresh produce. While it does take away some of the freshness, canning your produce can make it easier to cook later and prevents the chance of losing them to freezer burn or a dead freezer.
Many people don’t realize you are able to can okra, but it’s a great way to extend the shelf life.
In order to properly can okra, you have to use a pressure canner. It is a simple process. Around 11 pounds of okra will give you 7 quarts of canned okra. This is an awesome yield!
After having okra coming out of your ears, you need a new way to serve and eat okra. Pickled okra is a fabulous and fun option! You’ll get that yummy crunch and vinegar taste of a pickle, without using a cucumber.
It is very easy to make pickled okra. You simply need to place the fresh okra into the jars and pour the hot pickling liquid over time. Pickled okra requires a water bath canner; they only need around 15 minutes in the canner before they are ready to go. Of course, you can store them in the fridge to eat sooner!
These are 4 of the best ways to store okra. You are sure to have a hefty harvest on your hands. There is no reason to let any of them to go waste when you have a few options on hand.
Okra can be stored fresh for up to 4 days. However, long term storage has a few different options. If your garden still has room, check out our list of Healthiest Vegetables to Grow Quickly at home.
I love pickled okra! It is a great option and makes the perfect addition to a party tray. I hope this has been helpful to you! Do you have any great okra recipes or tips for storage? Let us know!