Sumo Gardener

Storing Okra After Harvest In 4 Ways

Are you looking into storing okra after harvesting them from your backyard? 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.


Storing Okra after in Harvest

When to Pick Okra

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.

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 Okra After Harvest

Storing Okra in the Refrigerator

Storing Okra After Harvest

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.

How to Freeze Okra

Okra can produce masses of pods, and there’s no better way to retain their fresh flavour (and all the nutrients that come with it) than freezing. However, freezing okra straight from the plant will lead to a pretty awful mushy texture when you defrost it.

But, with a little preparation, you can store okra with near-fresh texture and flavour for months in the freezer.

Firstly, you’ll need to give them a really good clean. Be gentle, and try not to damage their skins, but remove every bit of dirt you can. Washing them after defrosting will completely ruin their texture, so get it out of the way now.

Blanching Okra Before Freezing

Next, you need to blanch the pods. Blanching is just briefly boiling and is generally good practice when freezing any veg (and it helps to reduce cooking time later). To blanch your okra for freezing, bring a pot of water to the boil with a pinch of salt, then add the okra directly to the boiling water for no more than three minutes.

You’re almost there. Quickly remove the blanched okra from the boiling water, and plunge them directly into ice water to stop the cooking process.

And finally, leave your okra on paper towels or clean cloths to drain for a few minutes so you’re not freezing them with excess moisture, then pop them into airtight bags, and freeze them for up to nine months.

When you’re ready to cook frozen okra, you can either cook it straight from frozen or defrost it at room temperature for 2-3 hours before using. Personally, I find that the texture is better when they’re cooked (especially deep-fried) straight from frozen.

Canning Okra

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, and 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!

Pickled Okra

How to Store Okra

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!

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 okra recipes or tips for storage? Let us know!

If your garden still has room, check out our list of Healthiest Vegetables to Grow Quickly at home

These are the Best Ways for Storing Okra After Harvest

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. 

There you have it! Now you know the best ways for storing okra after harvest!

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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1 comment
Trisha says August 23, 2018

Growing up I had fried okra, and sliced in Gumbo. As an adult, I like it most ways! I sautee onions, garlic, and okra in Extra Virgin oil, or Avacado oil then add chunks of tomatoes. My husband has never been a big fan of okra…(from NJ!!!) but he likes this last recipe quite a bit. Of course you can spice it to taste (after serving) with your favorite hot pepper sauce. FYI: I’ve been in CA since 1980. Finding Okra is a challenge!!! The grocery stores rarely carry fresh okra, and when they do, want around $4.99 per lb. I have had my best luck at large farmer’s markets, where I discovered red okra (less/smaller seeds). This year since I have no appropriate veggie garden area, I planted both green & red okra (patio varieties-seeds online) in large pots. First harvest yesterday!

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