As I've said before, there's no better way to eat okra than cut up, rolled in corn meal and fried... a mess of fried okr-y! A Southern tradition.
My Mama and the rest of my family always looked forward to the hottest days of summer when the okra, a heat-loving veggie began to ripen and a mess of fried okry was sure to find its way to many a summer supper, along with fresh sliced tomatoes, green beans, new potatoes cooked with just a bit of butter, and whatever additional bounty the garden offered. No meat needed! You never missed it!
Mama spent many summers trying to capture and preserve that summer "Fried Okry" flavor so we could enjoy the same yumminess come wintertime... just slicing and freezing the okra resulted in a big frozen lump that took forever to thaw and when it did was mushy and hard to roll in the meal... she tried freezing the okra pods whole but then you either had to slice hard-as-a-rock okra pods or wait til they thawed and again... mushy! Canning them resulted in slimy slimy and un-fry-able (pickled and canned are great, as is sliced and canned in veggie soup or gumbo, but we're talking okra for frying)...
So after quite some time and much trial and error, Mama came up with the following method... it's not perfect... nothing can take the place of fresh, fried okra... but it's pretty darn good...
Here's what she did... and what I did with my recent abundance of okra...
I sliced it up like I would to prepare for frying... My DH was a wonder... a gentleman and a scholar... he sliced all those itchy, slimy okra pods for me while I worked on other things... God bless that man!!!
|Love Love Love that sweet man's hands!|
I sprinkled a light coating of cornmeal onto the sliced okra (you want a light coating here, makes for the BEST fried okra... I hate that thick coated store-bought deep-fried stuff, it's NOT traditional, Southern-fried okra... Light coating of cornmeal! Just what sticks to the damp okra... shake off the rest!)
Then I spread the meal coated okra onto a baking pan and baked it to a partial-doneness in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. It doesn't get brown, it only sort of bakes the corn meal onto the okra and dries it out a little so it doesn't stick together so much when frozen.
I took it out of the oven after the 20 minutes or so (work in batches if you have TONS of okra!) and allowed it to cool completely.
Once it was cool, I bagged it up and vacuum sealed it (don't have to vacuum seal, it's just what I did and since I have a vacuum sealer and CAN, I did... Mama never did) Freezer bags or containers will work fine.
If you DO have a vacuum sealer and decide to vacuum your okra... stop the seal about halfway through the vacuuming step so it doesn't squish the okra completely flat! You don't want that.
Pop your bags of okra into the freezer and you have "almost as good as fresh" fried okra to look forward to next winter!