Are you growing okra in your garden this year and looking for a way to preserve it? Learn how to dehydrate okra so that your dried okra lasts all year long.
Living in the south, fried okra is a staple on many tables in the summer. Breaded and fried to perfection!
And while fried okra is great for the summer, what if you want to enjoy your okra harvest all year long?
Luckily preserving okra is pretty easy! And the best way to preserve it is by dehydrating.
Want to grow your own okra? Here’s how: How to Grow Okra from Seed
How to Dehydrate Okra
Okra can be preserved in other ways, such as pressure canning, pickling, or freezing, but my favorite way is to dry it.
Dried okra is shelf stable for a long time and it’s easy to use in dishes throughout the year.
The first step to drying okra is to start with fresh, picked okra pods.
Choose pods that are still small and not at all pithy or tough. Les than 4 inches in length is a good generalization.
Remember the quality of the final product is only as good as the produce you start with!
Wash the okra pods and cut off, and discard, both ends.
Slice your okra pods into about 1/4 inch rounds.
Dehydrating reduces the size by a lot, so it takes a LOT of fresh okra to even fill one jar of dried okra.
Once you have sliced up all of your okra, it’s time to dehydrate!
Making Dried Okra in an Electric Dehydrator
The easiest, and most efficient, way of dehydrating okra is to use an electric dehydrator.
A good electric dehydrator will allow you to control the temperature and get even dehydration without overcooking or having to turn your trays often. Check out my Dehydrator Buying Guide if you need a dehydrator.
I have a 9 tray Excalibur dehydrator that’s almost 10 years old and still runs like new. I love it and use it for drying vegetables, herbs, and fruits.
To dry okra in an electric dehydrator all you need to do is lay your okra, cut side up, on your trays. Make sure they aren’t touching to ensure good air flow between the pieces.
Set your dehydrator for 125°F and close it up.
It will take 4-8 hours to dry okra completely, depending on how thick your slices are and how humid your house is.
Make sure your okra is completely dry and crispy before removing it from the dehydrator.
Other Options for Dehydrating Okra
If you don’t have an electric dehydrator you can try drying okra in these alternate ways:
Drying okra in the oven is similar to drying it in the dehydrator, the biggest obstacle is making sure your oven isn’t too hot and burns the okra before it dries.
Set your oven as low as possible- as close to 130°F as possible. Some ovens have a warming option that works well for drying vegetables.
Place your pods, cut side up, in a single layer on baking trays. Cook on the lowest setting possible until completely dry. You’ll need to flip the pods and rotate your trays a couple times during the drying process to get them evenly dried.
You can also use the sun to dehydrate okra! If you are going to solar-dehydrate, I’d suggest cutting the pods in 1/8 inch slices to help speed up the process.
Lay the pods, cut side up, on your trays. Cover with a screen (or get a solar dehydrator that comes with screens) to keep the bugs away.
Sun-dried okra takes 3-7 days, depending on your climate. The best days for solar drying are very sunny, warm, and breezy days with low humidity.
This may not be the best option for drying okra if you live in a very humid area.
How to Store Dried Okra
Once your okra is completely dried, you need to store it appropriately if you want it to keep without spoiling.
I store my dried okra in glass mason jars fitted with metal rings and lids. I have tired using the plastic mason jar lids, but they don’t seem to be quite as air tight.
Fill your mason jar with okra and tighten the lid- and store the jars in place that is out of direct sunlight- such as in your pantry or cabinet.
If you have the room, storing dehydrated okra in the freezer can extend the shelf life.
Dried okra will last at least a year under optimum conditions.
How to Use Dried Okra
Eat it dried! Dehydrated okra can make a great snack! Try sprinkling the pods with some salt and seasonings before dehydrating and then just snack on them like chips!
Add it to soups. If you are using it in soups or stews, just throw it in the pot as usual and it will rehydrate as the soup cooks.
You may find you need to add a little more liquid if you are using a lot of dried okra.
Rehydrate it first. To rehydrate okra, simply add 3 cups of boiling water to 1 cup of dried okra and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.
Once the time is up, drain the water and use the okra as you normally would in any recipe. Even fried okra!
Want to preserve your harvest more efficiently? My Food Preservation Planner helps you save time and preserve more- plus keep track of everything you can, dehydrate, and freeze all season long.
Want to learn how to preserve other food? Check out these articles: