Names: ladies fingers · bhindi · ochre · gumbo
Plant: Abelmoschus esculentus
About: Okra is a signature ingredient in African as well as American Southern cooking. It’s most commonly used in stews but can be enjoy like any other vegetable. While the slimy texture tends to shy consumers away, okra can crisp up when deep frying, roasted, or pickled! And with its slew of health benefits, okra will intrigue any wellness junky.
Varieties: green · red
In Season: July – September
Benefits: improves vision and skin · eases digestion and constipation
Nutrients: dietary fiber · vitamin A · calcium · iron · magnesium
Calories: 1 cup = 30
Replaces: jalapeños · asparagus
WHERE TO BUY
Store: your grocery store’s produce section · local farmer’s market
BUY this: pods that are firm and 4-inches small
AVOID this: pods that are discolored, mushy, or cracked
HOW TO STORE
In the fridge for up to 2-3 days, or in the freezer for 1 year. Before freezing, blanch the okra by placing the pods into boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove, then cool them in ice water. Pat dry before placing in plastic bags and into the freezer.
NOTE: for best cooking results okra should be fresh, so use the pods ideally as soon as you buy them. When the tips and ridges start to turn black, use immediately or discard.
- Okra is one of the most heat and drought-tolerant vegetable species in the world.
- When okra came to Virginia in 1781, Thomas Jefferson wrote about it in his diary.
- Okra seeds can be roasted and ground to form a caffeine-free tea.