Let's talk Okra
Originally from Africa and related to the Hibiscus, Okra is a versatile plant - you can eat the leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds. This summer is our first time growing it, and it is so resilient! All this rain has waterlogged and destroyed most of our crops, but the Okra is powering on!
My interest in cooking with Okra was piqued by market customers who purchase it with great excitement and enthusiam because of its mucilagenic benefits to their gut health. I have also read that Okra has long been used in Turkey for treating diabetes because of its ability to lower blood sugar levels.
So if you are like me and are new to Okra, I thought I would share a few tips I have gleaned, and a recipe that might help you gather the courage to give it a go for yourself.
Storage - keep Okra dry by wrapping it in paper towels and keeping it in a paper or plastic bag in the fridge crisper until you want to use it.
Preparation - Okra can be baked like a potato by tossing in a little oil, salt, and other seasonings, bake, then eat as is or added to a recipe. It can also be dried and used as a powder to thicken soups & stews etc. The most common way to prepare it is to just trim the top and toss it whole into whatever you are making. You can also chop it before adding it to recipes - this will release more mucilage.
Minimising Mucilage - soak the okra in vinegar or lemon juice for 30 mins before cooking it. Rinse and pat dry before cooking. If that doesn't appeal to you or you are like me and don't have 30 minutes to wait for Okra to soak, then add lemon juice or vinegar to your recipe as this also ellimates some of the mucilage slimey texture. And as I mentioned above, use whole instead of chopping.
OK! Lets go give it a go. Below is a basic recipe for you to try.
Looking forward to hearing your success (or failure) stories!