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Okra Storage and Preparation Tips

Fast Facts

  • Fresh okra is very perishable. Keep no more than two to three days in the refrigerator.
  • Okra is high in vitamin C, folate, and other B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
  • Choose small tender pods that are free of brown streaks.
  • Do not cook okra in copper, iron, or brass cookware.

Nutrition Information

Vegetables are an important source of fiber and many nutrients. Although the actual amounts of the nutrients present may seem small, their contribution is significant if three or more servings of vegetables are eaten daily. Okra provides vitamins A, C, K and folate. It is also a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium while being low in fat and calories.

Buying & Storage Tips

  • Choose pods that are crisp-looking yet tender and two to four inches long.
  • Avoid pods that are limp and old or streaked with brown.
  • Allow one-fourth pound per serving.
  • Fresh okra is very perishable. Keep no more than two to three days in the refrigerator.
  • Store in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel and placed inside a perforated plastic bag to keep pods very dry. Moisture causes pods to become slimy.

Preparation Tips

  • Okra can be boiled, baked, or fried. It combines well with other vegetables, especially tomatoes, and is a natural thickening agent.
  • Rapid cooking will preserve flavor and prevent pastiness.
  • Okra should not be cooked in copper, iron, or brass cookware. The reaction between okra and these metals causes the pods to discolor.


Mediterranean Baked Okra

Total Time: 1 1⁄2 hours

  • 1 pound fresh okra
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper cut in thin strips
  • 1 green bell pepper cut in thin strips
  • 2 white onions, chopped finely
  • 3 tomatoes sliced in rounds
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Wash okra and dry well.
  3. Trim off the end of the stems, being careful not to cut into the pod.
  4. Put okra in a large, flat dish and sprinkle with vinegar. Make sure all sides are coated well.
  5. Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes. Rinse okra well in cold water and drain.
  6. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and cook onions until golden brown.
  7. Place okra pods in rows in a baking dish and sprinkle with onions.
  8. Put tomato slices on okra and then crisscross pepper strips on tomatoes.
  9. Scatter the parsley over and season with plenty of black pepper and pepper flakes.
  10. Drizzle rest of olive oil evenly over vegetables and add water.
  11. Bake at 375°F for almost an hour.
  12. Allow to cool and serve barely warm. 

Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calories:145, Protein: 3g, Fat: 9g, Carbohydrate:14g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Fiber: 5g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 42mg

Roasted Okra

Total Time: 20 minutes

  • 18 small fresh okra pods (If using larger pods, slice into ½ inch pieces.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  1. Preheat an oven to 425°F.
  2. Arrange the okra in one layer on a foil lined cookie sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Turn every 5 minutes for even browning.
  6. Experiment with other seasonings to your taste. 

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 
Calories: 61, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Carbohydrate: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Fiber: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 393 mg


Pickled Dilled Okra

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Yield: 8 to 9 pints

  • 7 pounds small okra pods
  • 6 small hot peppers
  • 4 teaspoons dill seed
  • 8 to 9 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup canning or pickling salt
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups vinegar (5%)
  1. Rinse and trim okra.
  2. Fill jars firmly with whole okra, leaving ½-inch headspace.
  3. Place 1 garlic clove in each jar.
  4. Combine salt, hot peppers, dill seed, water, and vinegar in large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Pour hot pickling solution over okra, leaving ½-inch headspace.
  6. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed.
  7. Wipe jar rims.
  8. Adjust lids.
  9. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. See chart below for processing times over 1000 ft


Boiling Water Bath Processing Times for Pickled Okra

Product Style of Pack Jar Size

Process Times at Altitudes: 0 - 1000ft

Process Times at Altitudes: 1001-6000 ft.

Process Time Above 6,000

Pickled Dilled Okra Raw Pints 10 min. 15 min. 20 min.

Interested in canning okra?

Having the right equipment in good condition is a must for safe, high-quality home-canned food. You’ll need either a pressure canner or a water bath canner, depending on the type of food you want to preserve.

A pressure canner is essential for canning low-acid vegetables, meats, fish and poultry. There are two basic types available. One has a metal weighted gauge and the other has a dial gauge to indicate the pressure inside the canner. 

*It is important to have the dial gauge tested every year. If your gauge is off more than two pounds at the recommended pressure, it will need to be replaced. County Extension Agents offer free dial gauge testing every year for gasket-style canners! Make an appointment with your local county agent.

A boiling water bath canner is used for canning high-acid foods like fruits, pickles, jellies and jams. The canner needs to be deep enough to allow at least one or two inches of water to boil over the tops of the jars. Both types of canners should have a rack in the bottom to keep jars off the bottom of the canner.

Make sure you have the right equipment. Check out our page Heirloom canners may not be safe

For more information on safe canning procedures visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation.


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