One of our big summer garden crops here is okra! We have tried several different varieties of okra, and it seems as if it’s very acclimated to our weather and thrives very well! Last summer our chief cook of the house even “raised the white flag” and said that we had enough okra – just leave the rest at the garden!
So, when you’re blessed with so much of something, it really is important to know how to use it, and often how to save it for later enjoyment! One of our go-to ways of enjoying okra is the classic fried okra. So, I’d like to share with you the method that we like to use for frying (and storing) this summer crop!
First, when it comes in from the garden, place the okra in a large bowl and rinse in water, washing off the little dried plant material that usually sticks to it. Next, slice the okra into little coin shapes, discarding both ends in the compost bin.
Once you have it sliced, you’re ready for preparation. Take a gallon Ziploc bag and add a little cornmeal in the bottom, maybe about ¼ cup. Fill the bag to about ¼ full with okra, seal the top and shake well to cover okra with cornmeal. Add a little more okra and a little more cornmeal, shake, and continue the process until the bag is about full, adding more cornmeal on the end if the okra is not pretty much fully coated.
Once you have your okra coated with cornmeal, seal the bag and either use fresh, or just toss it in the freezer for later use!
Now, when you’re ready to fry okra, get out a large skillet and place enough oil (refined coconut or palm, for example) in the bottom to measure about ¼ inch. Heat on medium heat of the stove. Drop one piece of okra in, and when it sizzles upon contact, the oil is ready! Now, you can use your fresh-coated okra at this point, or just pull a bag right out of the freezer and empty the contents into the hot oil.
More oil may be needed if the okra starts to really stick. Make sure that you scrape and stir the okra often, to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the skillet. Continue cooking and scraping (and adding oil if needed), until the okra is done to your liking. Some people might like it more soft, while others like it nice and crispy-fried!
Enjoy your garden bounty!