Okra is an incredibly popular vegetable in the Southern United States. Okra is a unique vegetable with a distinct flavor that falls somewhere between that of eggplant and asparagus. Okra is a podded vegetable with a fibrous outer stem and many inner seeds that grows on shorter bushes. It is commonly bright green, or sometimes purple, with a short stem.
BEST STORAGE PRACTICES:
Okra should be kept in cool refrigeration (45-50 degrees F), wrapped in a plastic bag to protect the vegetable. Okra has a short lifetime if not frozen for long-term keeping, and properly stored okra should last 2-3 days.
FUN WAYS TO EAT AND COOK:
Young, immature okra (shorter than 4 inch pods) are edible raw, but once matured the vegetable becomes too tough and fibrous to eat raw and should be cooked. When cooking, steam, boil, or stir-fry. Okra combines great with other vegetables in stews.
Select only okra that is bright green, firm, and crisp. Avoid any okra with damaged pods, discoloration, or limp pods.
WHY IT’S GOOD TO EAT:
- Great source of dietary fiber
- Good source of Vitamin B6 and folic acid
- Good source of a variety of other nutrients
WHEN IT’S IN SEASON:
Okra is a warm weather vegetable and is planted in mid to late spring. Okra is available beginning in June and can be found in markets until September.
HOW IT’S HARVESTED:
Okra is harvested off the bush by hand, often by snapping the pod or with the assistance of a knife. Okra is harvested when pods are between 2 ½ and 5 inches long. The smaller the pod, the more tender it is.
Okra Salsa—Dice okra, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and corn. (For Warm Salsa steam with water). Drizzle with oil, salt, pepper, and cilantro.