Thursday, June 19, 2008

Okra Doesn't Have To Be Slimy!

Okra, I like it fried, pickled and fresh. I'm learning lots of wonderful things about okra this year. Okra, also know as Lady's Fingers, originated from West Africa, is in the mallow family, and loves the heat. If you plant it too early in the season the seed will rot. So wait till the soil warms up and plant your okra seed. The roots don't like to be disturbed so if you purchase a plant already started carefully place it in the soil. The plant grows almost 6 feet tall and produces edible pods rich in Vitamins A, C, B complex, iron, calcium and fiber.

Pick okra when it is about 4 to 5 inches long, any longer and okra becomes very tough and fibrous. The largest pod above is too long and is very tough. Okra is related to the kenaf plant. Rope and paper can be made with the fibers of the plant. You can reduce the sliminess of okra by washing just before cooking and not cutting the okra too many times. The more you cut it the more slimy it becomes. I have been steaming the tender pods and eating them as a snack, boy are they good. Fried okra is a favorite food in the South, breaded with cornmeal. Okra is also added to gumbo to thicken the broth, that's when the sliminess is welcome.

I'm finding okra easy to grow. My four plants are producing edible pods every day and my plants are only a about a foot and a half tall. I had four plants and I have put in 4 more, so I may have an overabundance of okra soon. If you're looking to try fresh okra, stop in for a visit, and I'll pick you some okra right off the plant.