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 became 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. Boy, she makes good 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 the winter because he is an energy Nazi and does not like to heat up the house during summer. In the 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.
Last year I froze two bags of okra. They turned into mighty yummy chicken and shrimp gumbo during the cold months.
So this weekend, grab some okra at Certified Arkansas Farmers’ Market and freeze them!