Introduction: Fried Okra; Picking, Preparing & Freezing
I will not attempt to write an instructable on frying okra after reading "Perfect Fried Okra Recipe by scoochmaroo" here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Perfect-Fried-Okra...
What I can do is write about what happens BEFORE you read her instructable. I have a small garden and plant enough okra for our needs. Okra loves heat but needs water, so I water it and pick it every other day. We fry it, pickle it, boil it, & put it in stews. My area devoted to this wonderful plant is approximately 50 feet X 16 feet.
NOTE: Sept 13,2015 It's growing so fast now I must pick it every day.
Step 1: Picking Okra
I plant "Clemson Spineless", which really isn't true, but maybe it has less spines than all the other varieties. The spines are tiny stickers on the pods that will stick into your hands and arms and make them itch. I pick the okra wearing a long sleeved shirt and a leather glove. I have no idea how we can boil it and eat it without the spines sticking us, but we do.
There are several ways of picking it, but the object is to get it off whole without breaking off the top of the plant. I grasp the pod with the stem sticking between my middle finger and ring finger. I then push the pod over sharply with my thumb. This usually breaks the pod off of the stem. I took these photos of before & after I snapped each pod off, but iPhoto imported them all mixed up.
Step 2: Size Matters
The smallest pod (2" to 2.5") in this photo can be used for fried okra, but it's best to leave it on the plant for an extra day to let it get bigger. This size is perfect to boil whole. By leaving them whole, it doesn't get slimy from by exposing the water to the inside of the pod.
The 4" size is perfect for frying.
The 6" is too big and will be too tough when frying. Leave it on the stalk and let it get bigger for seed.
The 8" can be picked, dried, and saved for seed. You'll usually have to cut the stem as its really tough. This stuff grows amazingly fast. The time difference between the 2" and the 6" is about 48 hours. Another 48 hours and it's 8" long.
Step 3: Wash & Wash Again
Okra pods are really clean, but there is a little piece of the old bloom that needs to be washed off. Not that it would taste bad, but it is unsightly. Just rinse it in cold water several at a time, dip them out, then change the water and rinse again.
Step 4: Cut Off Stem and Other End
If you are just preparing a little, you can slice it now with a knife. I have so much I must get out the slicer
Step 5: The Slicer
This is a 40 year old VEG-O-MATIC with metal rings holding the slicing knives. Do not confuse this with the later model that has plastic rings holding the knives. These can be found on eBay at a reasonable price. The ones with the metal rings work great.
Step 6: Using the Slicer
Slice only one long or two short pods at a time. Push down sharply. After you are through with it, take out the cutting rings & wash them. Turn machine upside down & clean the plastic part that pushes the vegetable through the cutters. A toothpick will help to get the small pieces out.
Step 7: Bag & Freeze (or Fry)
Bag the cut okra & freeze it or....................
.................. go back & read scoochmaroo's recipe & fry some.
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