Find large okra. The farmers will have this in abundance in the late summer, July, and August seem to be our best months for it in NC, but it can vary climate to climate obviously.
As soon as you see okra at the markets just put the word out; “you will be willing to buy any "overgrown" okra the farmers are willing to sell.” This will have the added bonus of allowing you to further your relationship with them as, you may be surprised what you are offered in the future.
Once you have the large okra, remove the top and split the pod lengthwise. Wear gloves at this point to avoid any spines the okra pods may have ending up in your hands.
Remove the seeds from the pods and reserve.
With the remaining pods, dehydrate at 160° F for 2 to 3 days until completely dry.
Powder the pods in a bar blender and sift through a fine mesh strainer. We have found this powder offers most of the same thickening properties as cornstarch.
With the remaining seeds, you have two options, we typically blanch and freeze all of them for fall and winter applications when we would be working more with legumes.
For summer applications, you can simply blanch and serve as a hot couscous substitute or cool and use for salads. They also have the bonus of being completely gluten free.