OKRA!! Still Going Strong

Okra

Okra

By

Jannie Vaught

 

The garden seems to be on vacation as the sustained heat has all but dried everything to a crisp. But there is a friend in the garden that is still going strong and that is OKRA!!

Abelmoschus Esculentus, AKA, lady fingers, bhindi, bania and gumbo. A flowering plant in the Mallow Family. The origins of this plant is disputed, Africa, Egypt Asia? Where ever it’s origin, I am glad it is here. Thomas Jefferson wrote about it, and I am sure enjoyed the bounty it provides. The species is an annual and a perennial, related to cotton, (the flowers look alike), cocoa, and hibiscus. This plant is among the most heat and drought tolerant vegetable species in the world and will tolerate soil heavy with clay, inter mitten moisture but can be damaged by frost. The edible pods need to be harvested about 5 to 9 days after bloom or they will become woody and tough, I cut them and feed them to my chickens. The seeds are high in protein. The leaves are edible and can be eaten when small in salad or cooked like a green. Okra can be used as an oil and often grown as a bio fuel due to it’s high un saturated oil content, no cholesterol.

 

Okra  Flower

Okra Flower

 

The mucilaginous “slime” is a valuable nutrition content good for your digestive system and has excellent aspects for diabetes. Low in calories, high in dietary fiber, minerals, anti oxidants and I thought it was just another tough garden plant. I have to say the okra flower is my favorite flower and when ever I get to admire this exotic flower I am grateful to grow it. I have been growing 3 varieties of okra, Hill Country Red, Cow Horn and Burgundy. All grow excellent here. And this morning when I was out strolling in the garden I again picked a mess for dinner. The question is how to cook it?

 

Fried Okra

Fried Okra

 

Our favorite is fried with a little corn meal and safflower oil. Can’t wait for dinner! I will  put some rice and fish with that and call it very good day. So when you are planning for next year spring garden don’t forget the toughest plant with the prettiest flower,…… Okra.
Growing Green With Jannie