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What Is Okra?

by Chakrir Khobor

Okra is the seed of the plant Abelmoschus esculentus. They are filled with small white seeds and are sometimes called lady’s fingers because of their long, slender, tube-like shape. Native to Ethiopia,  was brought to North America by enslaved and nomadic peoples centuries ago. It grows well in hot and humid climates. Major growers include India, Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Ghana, Egypt, Benin, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Cameroon—it is also grown in Florida and other southeastern countries. is a staple in Southern, Caribbean and Indian cuisine in gumbo and stew, and it’s one of those dishes that people either love or hate. Usually, those who dislike it blame it on how slimy and silky okra turns when cooked, but others love it for the same reason. Okra is obviously one of those vegetables that means different things to different people.

What Is Okra?

Okra is a fruit, although it is eaten as a vegetable. Green seed pods are cooked whole or split, so their preparation is very simple, and they can be cooked in many ways. However, choosing the right cooking method, such as grilling, broiling, broiling, and pan-frying, can reduce or prevent browning. Grocery stores in the US often sell fresh okra by the pound during the summer months when it is in season. It is more expensive in the winter months when exported.

How to Cook With Okra

Okra is widely used in soups and stews. It contains mucilage, a substance that acts as a natural solid when heated. While this is great for dishes like gumbo, it also brings out the sliminess often associated with okra. In some parts of the Caribbean, okra is boiled and deep-fried when other dishes are preferred, one way to reduce its volatility.

You will need to wash and dry the okra before slicing or slicing it. How you cut it may vary from family to family, not to mention from one part of the world to another. Okra can be cut into strips, sliced ​​lengthwise or evenly sliced. Of course, you can choose to leave it all out.

A few methods have proved effective in reducing the slime quotient of cooked okra. Some chefs recommend soaking it in vinegar before cooking, but be sure to dry it completely afterwards. Cooking it at a much higher temperature, such as stewing or broiling, also works. You can cook okra this way before adding it to other recipes.

What Does It Taste Like?

Okra has a mild, almost grassy flavor that is too distinctive. Although sometimes compared to the taste of eggplant or green beans, the texture gets more attention. Crunchy okra is not cooked quickly but is very tender when cooked slowly.

Where to Buy Okra

White okra should feel firm but not hard. Look for bright green pods with flawless skin. The slight browning on the stem is not a concern, although it is green, the okra is moist. It is not a popular fruit and not all vendors keep it fresh. The best time to find it is from May to September when it is in season. Most grocery stores sell them pre-packaged and frozen in 12- to 16-ounce bags.

Okra is a drought-tolerant annual plant that thrives in warm, humid regions.1 It will produce edible seed pods after a beautiful white, yellow, pink.or yellow flower has appeared hibiscus. When temperatures reach 80 degrees and above, it’s a good time to plant seeds (or start seedlings you’ve grown indoors) in rich, well-drained soil in full sun.

Storage

Okra can be stored in the vegetable compartment of your fridge in paper bags for up to four days. You can also loosely wrap it in plastic wrap. When you are ready to cook it, remove it from the fridge and start bringing it to room temperature. This will reduce the amount of moisture from cooking.

Gardeners with large quantities of okra (this is more likely if the pods tend to grow at the same time) can freeze them for up to a year. To freeze the okra, wash and seal the pods, blanch in boiling water for a few minutes, put them in an ice water bath, cut them up and freeze them before packing them into bags of freezer. Or follow the directions of Southern cooks, who fry or bake the pods in pods before they freeze.

what is okra

What is okra used for

Sometimes called “queen’s finger,” okra is a flowering plant with edible seed pods. It grows well in warm climates and is often planted in Africa and South Asia.

Although technically a fruit, okra is often adaptable as a vegetable when cooked. You may be familiar with okra as an ingredient in gumbo, for example. Although not a household name in nutrition, okra still has a lot of nutritional value.

Health Benefits

Okra is low in calories but packed with nutrients. Vitamin C in okra helps support immune function. Okra is also high in vitamin K, which helps your body heal.

What is okra used for in cooking

Okra is often used in soups and stews. It contains mucilage, a substance that acts as a natural solid when heated. While this is good for dishes like gumbo, it also produces the sliminess often associated with okra. In some parts of the Caribbean, okra is breaded and deep fried while cooking in other dishes, which is another way to reduce the slimyness.

You will need to wash and dry the okra before slicing or slicing. The way you cut it may differ from family to family, let alone from part of the country to the plot. Okra can be cut into pieces, sliced ​​lengthwise or thinly sliced. Of course, you can choose to leave it as is.

A few methods have proven effective in reducing the slime quotient of cooked okra. Some chefs recommend soaking it in vinegar before cooking but make sure to pat it well afterwards. Cooking it at a very high temperature, such as grilling or grilling, also works. You can cook okra this way before adding other ingredients.

What is okra related to

Okra is a member of the mallow family, which is related to cottonwood, hibiscus and hollyhock. It is a tall (6 ft) tropical annual plant grown for its edible green seeds (there is also a red pod type, which turns green when cooked).

History

Okra probably originated somewhere in Ethiopia, and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians in the 12th century B.C. Its cultivation is widespread throughout North Africa and the Middle East. The seed pods were eaten boiled, and the seeds were roasted and ground, used to prepare coffee (and still are).

Okra has arrived in the Caribbean and the U.S. in the 1700s, it was probably brought by slaves from West Africa, and brought to Western Europe soon after. In Louisiana, Créoles learned from slaves the use of okra (gumbo) to drink soup and it is now central to Créole Gumbo.

How to eat okra

Okra is an unusual vegetable, which you might think is edible if no one told you. Its scaly skin can pierce your fingers, and when cut it reveals more than seeds and slime. I admit, if okra hadn’t been added to our CSA section a few weeks ago, I probably wouldn’t have gotten used to it—and I’d still be quite fond of it.

But hey, I’m from New England. Okra is a popular food in some regions, such as South America, parts of Africa and the Mediterranean. According to the book “Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa,” by Fran Osseo-Asare:

 

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