When freezing fresh okra, you could wash it up, cut off the stems and throw it in the freezer. However, there is a way to prepare okra for freezing so that it will last longer. The following will explain how to freeze fresh okra for a longer shelf life, up to nine months in a regular freezer and up to fourteen months in a deep freeze.
Choose young, fresh, tender okra pods that are soft and green. Pick okra with little to no puncture marks on it and as little brown on the pods as possible.
Place the okra in a strainer and rinse with cold or lukewarm water. Separate the pods into 4-inch pods or smaller (small pods) and pods that are longer than 4-inches (large pods).
Cut the stems off at the very end of the pods with a sharp knife of just the small pods. Be careful not to cut into the seed cell.
Fill a pot 2/3 full of water and bring it to a boil. Get a large bowl of ice and cold water ready as the water is boiling.
Place the small pods into the pot and cover, boiling for exactly three minutes. This procedure is called "blanching" the pods. While these pods are boiling, prepare the large pods. After removing the small pods from the pot with a slotted spoon, boil the larger pods for four minutes.
Place the okra directly into the ice water after removing them from the boiling water and let cool for five minutes. Add more ice if you need to in order to keep the water cold.
Place the okra from the ice water into a strainer and drain for two to three minutes. Place the okra in zippered freezer bags, get as much air out of the bag as possible, and put them into the freezer.
If you will not be putting the okra in the freezer right away, put it in the refrigerator. Smooth okra varieties do not split as easily as the ridged varieties so they freeze better. You can slice up the okra before freezing if you plan on frying it. Blanching the okra destroys the enzymes in the vegetable that over time changes the color, flavor and texture and destroys the nutrients of the vegetable.
Don't let the okra sit for longer than thirty minutes after cutting off the stems before boiling. If they sit longer than that, they will start to discolor.