As some of you may know, I was born and raised in Japan. I moved to the U.S. when I was nine. The first city that I lived in the States was New Orleans. I quickly got hooked on Cajun and Creole food, and to this day, I love ‘em!
My mother, who was born and raised in Japan and never even heard of New Orleans until she was thirty-two, learned how to cook gumbo. That lady makes amazing gumbo. Her gumbo is so good that it will put many gumbos that I’ve had to shame.
My partner, a South Carolinian, makes very good gumbo, too. He usually cooks gumbo in winter because he is an energy Nazi and does not like to heat up the house during summer. In winter, when he cooks gumbo, he uses okra that I put up.
Putting up okra is very easy. Here’s what you do:
- Cut off stems, being careful not to open the seed cells.
- Blanch in boiling water – small pods 3 minutes, large pots 4 minutes.
- Cool immediately; drain.
- Leave whole or cut in crosswise slices.
- Pack in a freezer bag, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom.
- Seal; freeze.
I usually put away two bags of okra each year, which works for a household of two that makes gumbo every now and then. You may want to put away more if you cook other okra recipes like okra and tomatoes and Indian dishes.
So this weekend, grab some okra at your local farmers’ market and freeze them!