Okra

There are some vegetables people love to hate and okra is one of them.  But, for those of us who love okra, it is simply divine.

 

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According to Wikipedia.org  the word okra is of Nigerian origin and is also referred to as “lady fingers or gumbo” outside of Nigeria. 

“The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins. Supporters of a South Asian origin point to the presence of its proposed parents in that region. Supporters of a West African origin point to the greater diversity of okra in that region.

The Egyptians and Moors of the 12th and 13th centuries used the Arabic word for the plant, bamya, suggesting it had come from the east. The plant may have entered southwest Asia across the Red Sea or the Bab-el-Mandeb strait to the Arabian Peninsula, rather than north across the Sahara, or from India. One of the earliest accounts is by a Spanish Moor who visited Egypt in 1216, who described the plant under cultivation by the locals who ate the tender, young pods with meal.

From Arabia, the plant spread around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and eastward. The plant was introduced to the Americas by ships plying the Atlantic slave trade by 1658, when its presence was recorded in Brazil. It was further documented in Suriname in 1686.” 

The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world and is among the most heat and drought tolerant vegetable in the world. It will does well in heavy clay soils and intermittent moisture but frost will kill the plant. Thomas Jefferson noted it was well established in Virginia by 1781.Okra is a popular health food due to its high fiber, vitamin C, and folate content. Okra is also known for being high in antioxidants. Okra is also a good source of calcium and potassium.”  

True southerners love it!

The flowers and pods of the vegetable are very pretty.

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This is one vegetable I love and my husbands dislikes. I will fry a bowlful for myself and I do not have to share. He says he was “scarred” in childhood when his mother ruined fried potatoes by adding okra and making him eat it!!!

Fried Okra: Cut the pods into 1/4″ slices, coat it with cornmeal meal and fry it with a little oil, salt, pepper and onions until crispy and golden brown.  Add some salsa or stewed tomatoes on top when you eat them and they are mouth-watering good!

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I also like okra pickles. In fact I can actually crave these slimy things!

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You can use any dill pickle recipe but here is mine.

Stuff quart or pint jars with small whole okra.

In each quart add

2 T. salt (this is correct)

1 large tsp. mustard seed

1/4 tsp. garlic powder or clove of garlic

1 tsp. dill seed (or 1 large fresh head of dill).

Mix together the following brine, heat to boiling and fill the jars.

1 c. water

1 c. vinegar

Immediately put on “hot” lids and they will seal.

Okra freezes well. I cut into 1/4″ slices, coat it with corn meal and freeze it raw in gallon size Ziploc bags.  By adding the cornmeal it will easily break apart when you are ready to use it and you do not have to use the whole bag at once.

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1 Comment »

  1. We like it roasted in the oven and cooked on the grill. Fried is good too. I’ll even eat it steamed when it is slimy, but that is not my preferred way.

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