When to harvest Okra?

goofygrinAugust 25, 2008

I don't really like okra, but my wife and neighbor (and some of our friends) do, so I planted some this year.

It's been the only thing producing well!

But I don't really know when to harvest it? The people that we've given it to have been surprised with how big it is, but have said that it tasted good.

Here's a picture of one days worth of harvest (on 2 8.5x11" paper) from my 6 plants (4 of which produce most of it). The plants are almost 6' tall right now.

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cabrita(9b SoCal)

I love okra and it is my first year growing it successfully (not a normal California crop). Size for picking depends on the dish you will be using it for. The really baby ones are yummy, but then you get less okra yield per plant, right? So unless your culinary use requires extra tender, I would pick them a little smaller than what you show, so you don't get strings. Now you have to experiment because some varieties can get really large before getting stringy (kinda like greens beans). I would advice cooking just one of the larger ones and make sure they are still tender, if not, pick a little earlier. Nice okras you got there!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 3:17PM
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ristau5741(6)

4" - 5" long is generally the size you want.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 4:00PM
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chaman(z7MD)

Okra should not be allowed to grow to become woody.General tendency is to let okra grow as long as possible for larger production.But this tendency should be limited to the length of the okra to keep them tender all the time for their consumable use.Too long okra will be woody,difficult to chew to eat.Too short will be tasteless.
This does not mean that there is no way to select good edible okra.One thing to remember is the instructions on the seed packet.They always mention the size of the okra the seed will produce.Say, the instructions recommend the production size between 4 to 6 inches than start picking okra at approx. 4 inches length since they will grow to 6 inches or more in 24 hours.
Now if you do not have this info. there is another way of judging the tenderness of the okra.And that is hold the okra in the fist so that pointed end stays between index fingure and your thumb.Now gently try to break the pointed end by pusing this with thumb. If it breaks easily then okra is tender and edible,if not it is old enough to discard.Another way is hold the ends of the okra between index and thumb of the hands and bend the okra.If it breaks easily then okra is tender to be usable,if not discard it being old.These are general guid lines.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 4:00PM
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goofygrin

well I tested a couple of the pods in the picture and indeed the tips don't snap off.

I'll try some of the shorter one!

Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 4:17PM
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chaman(z7MD)

goofygreen,

Since we are discussing about when to harvest okra I had pressumed the okra we are discussing are garden fresh not ones harvested before few days.For the okra harvested before few days try to cut with a knife.If they are cut easily then they are edible.If the okra are not easily cut then they have gone to woody state not edible.This method holds good for fresh okra also.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 8:53PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

we always have to harvest okra every couple days. any longer than that and the older pods are no good. last year 20 plants produced a 5 gallon bucket every 48-72 hours for 3 months straight! my wife refused to allow me to plant any this year. i bet after giving away, freezing, and eating hte okra i still put several bushels in the compost heap.

but this really depends on which TYPE you have. some breeds can grow large pods that are still good, others anything beyond 4-6" is junk.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 1:46PM
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