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Okra Newbie Questions

Posted by iam3killerbs 7 NC Sandhills (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 11, 11 at 8:50

I've never much cared for okra on account of the sliminess, but last year at a potluck we tried some fried okra direct from someone's garden that wasn't slimy at all. I had seconds. Additionally, a co-worker assured me that okra wouldn't be slimy if picked at the right time.

Given that the plants are also pretty and so could go right in front, DH wants me to try it this year to help fill in the mid-summer veggie gap when nothing but yardlong beans, eggplant, and hot peppers are bearing.

How does okra do in sand? Since EVERYTHING does best in "rich, well-drained soil" the info I'm finding isn't very useful. LOL Of course I'll add compost and mulch the ground well to retain moisture, but nothing short of trucking soil in from a different geological area is going to turn my yard into perfect loam.

What is the right time to pick okra so it won't be slimy? Is there a less slimy variety?

If I need about 2lbs of okra to make a vegetable side dish for 7 people about twice a week how many okra plants should I grow?

Is the burgundy, which first caught DH's eye with its looks, as good as the green varieties?

How big a footprint do the 4-6 foot tall plants require? I can get a 6ft tomato plant into an 18" square but it takes a 4ft square to house an 18" tall summer squash?

Anything else an okra newbie needs to know?

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Okra needs heat, water, and reasonable fertility. It is not a picky plant otherwise. Grows fine here in the sandhills of Georgia unless the sand is infested with root knot nematodes. Burgundy tastes the same as green okras, it is not a prolific variety however. All okra is best picked young ( under 3 inches). It goes from bloom to seed very fast, so it needs to be picked about every other day. Sliminess is related to bruising and to cooking methods. Handle it gently and don't throw it in a pot and boil it if you don't want sliminess.
They have a smaller foot print than a tomato. I use 12 inch spacing in rows,
Photobucket Photobucket


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I recommend 'Clemson Spineless' as it doesn't get out of control and has high yields in home gardens. I second FD's assertion that they are not picky. Wear long sleeves when harvesting, at about 6-8" (you'll quickly learn what length is best).

Dan


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

  • Posted by grandad 9aLa/Sunset 28 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 11, 11 at 10:00

I was going to respond to the reason for sliminess being related to the cooking process but farmerdill beat me to it. So ditto's to the above.

Fried is the only way I like okra prepared. My wife on the other hand likes okra regardless of the way it's cooked.

I also use a 12 inch spacing for okra.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Thank you all! That's very helpful advice.

Though a zone further south, farmerdill is in the same geological formation I am so its great to be certain that the okra will take the soil.

Any input on how many plants for the two meals a week I mentioned?


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Early on you will get an average of two pods per plant every other day. Later in the season when the side branches start to produce that jumps dramatically. By September I may get a dozen pods per plant. Clemson is at the bottom of my list for eating quality. My favorite is Emerald. You can decide how many pods you need per week. Always plant more than you need and give the surplus away.
Grandad, I am surprised. Fried okra, okra corn bread are also my favorites,. but I really like Okra in vegetable based soups. Gumbo less so (I can do without the rice) but I am really surprised that it not at the top of your list. It does well pickled whole also.
This storm has brought every thing to a sliding halt here. My longest trip this week is to the woodpile.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I grew Clemson spineless with fantastic results last summer. I also spaced one plant per foot, and I had about 12 plants. It grew over 5 feet tall, so you may want it at the back of the bed. It's got those beautiful hibiscus-like flowers but I also like the way the leaves arch umbrella-like. So, huge okra fan here--I suggest looking into all of the southern heirlooms though, like that gorgeous burgundy.

Hate to break it to ya, but frying or broiling at high heat (crispy Indian style) are pretty much the only ways to avoid slime, which I don't mind at all. In addition to eating a lot of gumbo and freezing okra-black-eyed pea soup, I pickled some and froze lots more. I wish I took better records, but suffice to say I still have a bag in the freezer.

Also, Paula Deen's fried okra recipe is great--buttermilk is key.
One more thing, if you go on vacation while it is yielding, have someone pick it for you. It grows quickly--getting too large to enjoy.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

The height is a plus, really.

We can use it to screen the compost pile or to shade some of the stuff that doesn't take the blistering heat of midsummer very well.

If I grow the burgundy because its pretty when placed in public view (we're on a corner lot so I try to think of the lines of sight when I'm planting), do you think that half a dozen plants would be adequate? I'm sure that I can get rid of extra easily at church or at work but my space is limited so I don't want to be swamped.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

  • Posted by grandad 9aLa/Sunset 28 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 11, 11 at 13:51

Farmerdill, I probably should have elaborated on my above post. Fried okra is a personal favorite. In fact about 95% of the okra we harvest is prepared fried. I just personally don't care for okra prepared any other way. However, I will admit that I have not tried the okra cornbread. Gumbo, smothered, steamed and seasoned with spices vinegar are the other tried methods that have not suited my taste buds.

Okra is a regular in the spring/summer garden. Dittos on Emerald being the top choice, as we both have noted in other posts. My second choice would be Cowhorn.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I usually put in two 50' rows of okra, and since Clemson spineless seed is available bulk in a local hardware that's been my main variety. I shoot for a 12" spacing in the row but hate thinning, so I often get 6" or so. The plants seem to do well anyway. Here in mid Missouri okra is something of a novelty to many folks. Last year I gave away something like 100lbs. Didn't know they were getting $2.00-$3.00/lb at the farmer's market. Wondered why I was so popular at work! Several Indian students were particularly pleased to get the free okra. Until recently I wasn't aware how common it is in Indian cuisine. While it is true that the shorter pods are more tender, depending on the growing conditions, I've had some huge pods still remain tender. One Indian postdoc told me she had never seen okra pods so big that were still tender.

We mainly fry okra, though my wife and I like it in soups and usually put up some in vegetable soup mix with tomatoes, onions and sometimes corn if we have it. Frozen quarts of that make it easy to whip up some good homemade soup in the winter. I have frozen it already breaded to fry, but that doesn't work as well for us as we'd like. We also always pickle some with garlic and peppers, and for that you really do need to pick the shorter pods. My kids will only eat fried and pickled. Children just take forever to develop taste!

Chuck


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

To answer your question about how many plants, you will need at least 20. That is not much given that a 20 foot long row will grow it. When you plant the seed, put 5 or 6 per hill with 12 to 15 inches between hills. When it germinates, pull all but one or two plants per hill. The reason for putting 5 or 6 seed is because soil can crust which prevents individual seed from germinating. Several seed close together will break the crust and give you a good stand.

You can find several varieties at Sandhill Preservation

I am another who does not particularly like Clemson Spineless. Here are 4 varieties to choose from.

Cowhorn - stays tender longer than most, heavy production, plants can get very tall, 6 ft is common, 15 ft is possible.

Emerald - as above, this is a good all around okra. Must be picked young.

Evertender - Stays tender longer than most, mid-size plants to 6 or 8 ft, good general use variety.

Granny Franklin - Heavy production, excellent frying okra, excellent for pickling, tops out about 6 ft tall.

You might also ask what is the best way to fry okra. My answer is to put 4 cups cut up okra in a bowl, add 3/4 cup of corn meal, then fry on high in a cast iron skillet with about 1/2 cup of canola oil. I like mine crispy which takes about 20 minutes. You may have to add a bit more oil as it cooks.

DarJones


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Here is a link to an Okra trial that you might find interesting

Here is a link that might be useful: Okra trial


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Does everyone who fries okra soak the cut pieces in egg first, or does the cornmeal stick to the slime so you don't need egg? Which is better?

Can you fry in a stainless steel pan? Stainless is all I have. I've been looking for a used cast iron skillet with a smooth base. They don't grind the base smooth in new manufactures.

Will it kill okra seed to freeze it? I have a box of dried okra pods that I have been meaning to shell for seed that has been sitting outdoors in the cold for a few months. It's dry but definitely frozen.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I love okra and am a transplanted Yankee... I grew "okra" from the local garden supply - no name, just told me they would get 10 feet tall if I let them. And I grew burgundy as an experiment last year. I really liked the Burgundy - it wasn't as prolific as the standard, but it seemed to stay tender longer than the store brand. ;-) I'm trying a new variety "Burmese" that claims to be less slimey.

I like okra three ways - lightly steamed as whole pods about 2 inches long, sliced thin raw into salads, and in a salad dish.

It's a Cooking Light recipe - small okra pods are marinated (macerated) in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, bay, with calamata olives for about 72 hours. If anyone wants the recipe, I'll be happy to send/post. I have served it to true Southerners who also thought it was good. It's one of the "dishes" that I bring to neighborhood get-togethers and it's always gone pretty quickly.

Cindy


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Okra seed can be frozen. I store all my collection in the freezer. I even usually have it volunteer each year in the garden and it was 8 degrees here this morning.

I just roll in flour or corm meal after cutting up. I don't think it matters if is stainless or other.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I too like okra but am in agony every time I pick it--even when I wear gloves and pick in long sleeves. Is there something out there that works on the itch and burn, or am I just super sensitive to it?

Brook


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

  • Posted by grandad 9aLa/Sunset 28 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 12, 11 at 14:57

Happyday, I ususally put a small amount of half & half in the cut okra. I use a Zatarans fish fry batter (which sticks to the slimey H&H).

Brook, I find eliminating all okra leaves on the stems below the picked okra helps to minimize contact with the leaves. Also, eliminating the leaves tend to help keep the plant from falling over in heavy rain and wind.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I like okra, however frying is not my favorite way of preparing it. I usually make a stew or ragout, combining it with other vegetables. A simple and good dish is okra cooked with tomato and onion. That is a base upon which other dishes can be built by adding peppers or other vegetables.

Jim


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Thanks for all the input. You've given me a lot of information to digest.

I'd love to have the salad recipe, Cindy. We eat a lot of vegetable salads during garden season. I sometimes have time saving enough beans or peas from snacking children to cook any.

Do we have some signals crossed somewhere though? 20 plants to produce 4lbs of veggie side dish per week would be a seriously inefficient use of my limited garden space compared to what I could expect from squash, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, etc. in the same about of square footage.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

killer, Squash, tomato, and potato are about the most volume producing crops you can grow. Some things you grow for flavor.

If grown well, okra can produce between 3 and 5 pods per plant per week and it will remain productive right up to frost. I typically pick okra for 10 to 12 weeks. So take your 20 foot row of okra and you would expect to harvest about 40 pounds total.


Happy, if you want a really good skillet, go to ebay and find a Griswold 8 cast iron skillet. They sell for between $15 and $40 plus shipping depending on when it was made. You won't get a skillet that good anywhere today. But to answer your question, yes, you can fry okra in a stainless skillet.

DarJones


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I'm not exactly a newbie but I have an okra question.

Last year I planted Burmese with black plastic mulch. We had the best ever gardening weather throughout the whole summer. Nothing but sun and warmth. I watered frequently as we have sandy, droughty soil. The okra started off like gangbusters, producing enormous leaves. About the time it started forming pods the lower leaves started to wilt and die off. As quickly as new leaves formed at the top, the lowest leaves dropped off. The plants produced a few pods but never were able to make progress.

Has anyone experienced this? Any ideas as to cause and how to correct it?

Jim


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Too much water most likely jimster. Okra should be grown just on the verge of permanent drought. If the leaves wilt a little during the heat of the day, so much the better. Water heavily once or twice a week which should stop the wilting. Also, I refuse to grow Burmese because it is a finicky little plant that dies if you look at it cross-eyed.

I love cowhorn, but it is too tall for most gardens. One of my projects this year is to cross cowhorn with a short internode variety to see if I can combine the good traits of cowhorn into a shorter plant. I routinely get 150 to 200 pods of okra per cowhorn plant.

DarJones


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Interesting Dar - thanks for the heads up on Burmese. I'm going to try it alongside my Burgundy again. One thing that works well for me is pruning okra - not a recommended practice, but it seems to work well in my raised beds. I plant densely and pruning seems to encourage branching and new pods.

Killer - I will send the recipe via email. I'll put okra in the subject.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Well, heck. Now I've got to try some variety other than Clemson spineless. I think I did grow some Cajun once and don't remember noting major differences, but I am especially attracted to the "very high yielding" varieties listed in that link above. If Clemson spineless is only "high yielding" I expect to be inundated if I grow Evertender!

I use an Earthway planter to sow my okra rows, and it drops the seeds way too close together. Since okra seed usually germinates very well, I end up thinning probably 2/3 of the plants. That hasn't been a problem with Clemson spineless because I could buy it bulk and cheap, but I may have to go to hand planting to save seed if I change varieties....or maybe block every other cup in the planter....seems I've seen that suggested elsewhere for these planters.

My wife does most of the cooking around our house, or at least most of the good cooking. However, as she works, too, I cook enough to worry about. I finally figured out why her fried okra was almost always better than mine. She uses some flour with the cornmeal, and also seasons the coated okra with salt and pepper before frying. It seems to be important to let the coated and seasoned okra sit a while before frying, and I think that is because the salt causes the okra to weep a bit. The coating then clings better to the cut pods without having to use egg or milk before the cornmeal is added.

Chuck


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Chuck, that sounds right. I cut up butternut squash for drying and salted it and lots of water came out overnight. Sugaring it also caused water to exude.

I've grown Stewart's Zeebest the last few years and cutting leaves back did stimulate new podding. Heat and full sun made them into small trees with 2 inch diameter stems. Stewarts Zeebest is probably a cowhorn, it stays tender up to 9 inches or more and has few widely spaced seeds. Clemson Spineless might have had a bit less slime but it was packed tight with seeds and went to woody real fast, like within 3-4 inches and only a few days since flower close, it was inedible. Think I'll grow Burgundy next year, the pods looked silky and tender.

I've got millions of Stewarts Zeebest seeds to trade if any one wants them. I'd like to try Emerald and Thai okra, and Granny Franklin, and any of the other ones mentioned in the thread


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I guess I'll have to try something besides Clemson spineless just to see what I'm missing. I've had good production every year with it, and haven't had what I considered to be problems with tough pods until late in the season. However, I'd bet that all the okra I've ever eaten was Clemson spineless as it seems to be the most common available variety, so here's to a new adventure in dining pleasure!

Chuck


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I've grown several vars of okra and not only does Clemson grow well in my garden, the taste is not appreciably better/worse than anything else. But I'm not in the South, either, so that may have something to do with it. But I get a ton of pods off of one 'Clemson Spineless' plant, over a long season, and it is about the least worrisome crop in the garden.

Dan


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Agreed, Clemson Spineless produced abundantly for me as well. I got my seed at the dollar store so maybe it was a woodier variety than some others. It did taste good and I could eat it raw right off the plant, unlike the Stewarts Zeebest which was too slimy to eat right off the plant. Clemson Spineless produced right up to the first freeze then kept trying to flower and pod again afterward. In frost free areas it might grow as a perennial. It was attacked by aphids and ants using them.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

"Too much water most likely jimster."

I suspect you are right, Dar. With the overly well-drained soil here, it's almost impossible to overwater. However, the okra was mulched with black plastic which, with frequent watering, kept the soil damp. Not wet, but certainly damp. I don't believe this has been detrimental to any other crop. In fact, most crops which do well in dry conditions seem to do even better with a steady supply of moisture. Apparently this is not the case with okra.

Jim


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

News to me. I usually plant okra in the wettest place I have. Grows great in a swamp if I can get the ground prepared.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Thanks to everyone for your input. I'll probably see what about 10 plants of the burgundy will do for us and go from there in later years.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

"I usually plant okra in the wettest place I have."

Now I'm in a quandary. This may call for a controlled experiment.

Jim


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

jimster, if you go to that much trouble, pls dig up a few of the plants as they die and look at the roots. I suspect you will find a white mold. I've had that in okra but only in wet years when okra was mulched.

DarJones


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

"I suspect you will find a white mold. I've had that in okra but only in wet years when okra was mulched."

That (moisture, mulch) would correspond to my situation last year. The plot thickens. :-)

Jim


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Another way to reduce the slime is to not get the okra wet before using it. Instead of rinsing them, simply wipe off any dirt with a dry paper towel.

I love okra cooked Indian style, sliced into thin rounds and fried in a skillet until crispy. This way, its great with rice or with plsin yogurt. Yum!


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Yeh was wanting to try all types currently have Clemson Spineless planted was wondering where i could order every okra seed known some sites have some varities but they dont carry them all.Is there like a variety pack.Thanks.Also got a mole in the Okreee patch heard they was beneficial so far havent damaged any plants but may use the coffee can pit method to get the varmint. http://www.gardenguides.com/69168-make-homemade-mole-traps.html


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Since this thread was pulled back up again, how do you keep the ants off the okra? I don't see any aphids, just ants all over the plants. It's like the plant secretes some sort of liquid that they like.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Stewed with tomatoes, onion, and small chunks of ham, served with cornbread. the very best!!Gumbo, made with chicken, recipe in Joy of Cooking.I have never been able to Fry to suit myself, what do you all use for oil?
This year, I can't even get it to come up.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Well, I looked closer and plants had really tiny green aphids. Sprayed with blasts of water. I really need to find a good ant remedy. I can't spray and use diamectacous earth unless I reapply DE every time. I hate going to poisons but I hate these fire ants, too.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

My mother frys the okra in cornbread with no oil. Very crispy and healthy. Hot, non-stick or good steel/iron pan and you don't need all that oil to make it crispy, delicious.
Eggplant is good without the oil, too.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Steamed okra can be non-slimy. The secret to making it crisp-tender and non-slimy is 3-fold: 1. pick pods no larger than your thumb and cook the pods whole; 2. when you trim the stem end, do not cut into the pod itself; 3. place in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam covered 5-6 minutes only, then check. If deep green and fork-tender it's ready to drain and season. If not, you can still turn off the stove and the residual heat will continue to cook, but keep an eye on it. If it turns army-green, it won't be as good. I use only butter and a little salt, mainly because I only buy unsalted butter.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

That steamed okra sounds delicious!


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I steam mine like Claudia - love it! It's also good raw in salads very thinly sliced.

Tracydr - if you find out how to keep the ants off, please let me know!


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I grow a new Strain of Clemson Spineless, called 'Heavy Hitter' it very well may be the heaviest producing okra in the World! Mine grew over 60 branches and more than 200 pods on one plant! The Seeds came from Dry Creek Farm, in Oklahoma. Click: http://rkthb.co/5560 to find out more.

In answer to your question; okra that has been battered with cornmeal and fried, is never slimy, in fact it is so good that many people pay several dollars per pound, just to have it to cook on special occasions, like July 4th. I sell about 100 pounds of okra per week during July, and never seem to have enough on hand! Okra is great when it is pickled! I sell it for $5.00 per pint at Farmers' Markets! It is great in Gumbos with shrimp or bacon, it can be boiled, though that's not a personal favorite, and we also eat it salted peppered, and dehydrated, like it was popcorn in the Fall.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I planted okra for the first time in the garden last year, and found that fried okra became a favorite snack for me, sort of like popcorn.

I recently purchased the book by Cathy Barask called EDIBLE FLOWERS FROM GARDEN TO PALATE. She had a section on okra blossoms with two delicious sounding recipes. One is batter fried okra blossoms and the other is a stuffed blossom that is then deep fried. I'm planning to add enough okra in the garden this year to enjoy loads of blossoms.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a-S.C.USA (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 17, 12 at 22:55

It is hard to believe that someone in the sandhills has not tried okra in all four ways.
But after eating & cooking okra for over 40 years, I have never heard that handling the fruit will change the amount of sliminess.
If you could tell me what cooking would decrease the slim, other then frying, I would be grateful.
1) raw is my most dislike way to eat okra.
2) Boiled & lay on rice is next.
3)Pickled is next.
4)Stew is cooked in Gumbo.
5) Fried is best.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Well, I'll throw my 2 cents in here. I avoid fried foods where I can--just don't like all the grease. My favorite way to eat okra is just sliced and cooked in a pan with a little water. I've always heard that okra gets slimy when it is overcooked, and that has been my experience. Cooking it crisp tender to just beyond that stage and it is delicious without being slimy--but about 30 seconds longer and you have a slime fest.

I've probably grown the Clemson Spineless and found it very productive. I also found that if I started it indoors and transplanted, it wouldn't grow as tall and would start bearing when it was a foot tall vs. having to wait for it to get at least 2 feet tall to start bearing.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

This is a fascinating thread! So many good things shared!

Here's my nickel's worth. My husband's step mom was born and raised in New Orleans and is of french heritage. She's just about the best cook I know. When she makes her fabulous gumbo, she always sautees sliced okra over medium heat in a skillet with a very little bit of oil until the slime goes away. Then she puts it in the gumbo. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes, but the slime cooks off and there will be none in the soup.

Farmerdill, I tried Emerald last year because of your recommendation. It was delicious, the plant was beautiful, and I did not notice it being spiny.

With regard to fire ants, the best way I know to keep them out of the garden is to keep the soil disturbed. Each time a crop finishes up, I pull it out and turn the soil. Fire ants won't hang around if their nest is disturbed. Man, I hate those booger! They are a plague!


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I grew up eating okra from our garden. We fixed it lots of ways and loved almost all of them.

25 years later, and still gardening, I grilled it for the first time. O M G... how could I not have discovered this sooner?!!

Young pods, tossed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Grilled for 4 - 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Now it's our favorite way to cook it.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Cajun and Emerald are my two bests.
I lived in Louisiana for many years. My brother-in-law was French and taught me to cook many of the French dishes:
Chicken or Shrimp/Seafood Gumbo, Jambalaya, Gar balls (not what you think), Shrimp Creole, and many others. He liked the hot pepper sauces too - green and red. He even put hot green pepper sauce on his bologna sandwiches. I couldn't go there.

As for my fried Okra:

2 cups sliced okra pods
a little Milk with one egg, beaten together.
1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup cornmeal - mixed together in a bowl.
Crisco shortening (oil is too greasy)- just enough to make about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in the skillet when melted.
[If you MUST use cooking oil, only use Peanut oil or extra virgin olive oil that does NOT contain canola oil or soy.]

Place sliced okra in small bowl of the beaten liquid mixture. Turn to coat well.
Using your hands or a slotted spoon, dip out the okra putting it into the bowl of flour mixture. Coat well.
Fry in shortening on medium high heat.
Drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle with Sea Salt and/or Black Pepper, to taste, while still hot.
Sea Salt greatly improves the flavor of Okra.

(Canola oil (rapeseed oil) should be banned from all food consumption in all forms. It is made from Rapeseed oil, the most toxic of all food-oil plants. It used to be used as an insecticide. It is the main ingredient in defoliants, like Agent Orange- which made my brother sterile. There has and still is much research being done on this and many sources available to read. See one site's info in the Link below)

~Annie

Here is a link that might be useful: Canola Oil - How Toxic Is It?


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I really don't like "articles" that are full of bull. That canola article is pure hype and drivel.

But I also have to point out that Americans eat way too much fats and oils to be good for us. At one time, margarine producers touted the health of their product vs butter. Then a study showed that butter was far less damaging than margarine. At present, olive oil is my oil of choice with peanut oil a close second.

DarJones


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I also found that if I started it indoors and transplanted, it wouldn't grow as tall and would start bearing when it was a foot tall vs. having to wait for it to get at least 2 feet tall to start bearing.

I'm wondering how long you can grow okra indoors before transplanting. I was under the impression that it didn't like it's roots to be disturbed. But I can't plant it out before June, so my growing season is pretty short. Can I treat it like tomatoes and start it indoors 6-8 weeks before planting outside?


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Boy do I have newbie questions about okra!

Being in SoCal, not sure I have ever even seen it in a store fresh and the only time I have ever had it was in campbell's chicken gumbo soup....but I did pick those out to eat first!

I was given some seeds, and they sure came up fast!

So...why do you need the long sleeve/gloves to pick them? Do I need to plant so I don't accidentally bump in to them too? Are they like the stinging nettles my mom likes to grow?


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Okra has short spines all over the plants, some varieties have so many spines I would not recommend touching the plant anywhere if your arms are bare. Some varieties have fewer spines and the spines are softer and less likely to cause itching. These are the varieties most people prefer to grow. Cowhorn is my standard for least spines. Clemson Spineless is supposed to have very few, but in my experience, it can still be very irritating. I'll let others chime in with which varieties they grow that are low in spines. I am only sensitive to okra on the insides of my arms. My hands are normally unaffected.

DarJones


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

trying to grow some okra clemson spineless and i noticed these little black ants on one of my plants anyone know how i can get rid of them and what are they exactly i also think these ate the blooms off of my knock out roses. thanks in advance for your suggestions.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Here is my video blog, and my adventure in growing okra for the first time.

Here is a link that might be useful: growing okra for the first time


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I'm trying okra again this year in Chicago. I've picked a few pods already and I'm trying to hang onto them enough for a small snack. They are not growing at the same rate.
Is is really helpful to cut back the leaves for more production? It's been so hot I think it has helped me grow it this year with a little more success. I'd like to have more though. Now that I know they can be started inside, I'll be be starting seedlings just like the other vegetables.

I grew up in the South. My grandmother made great fried okra and I love okra. I've never had slimy okra. I think all I have to do is dust with a little flour and cornmeal and pop in vegetable oil.

I tried once before and only got one pod I let get too big. I ate it anyway :-) Did I say I love okra?


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I've enjoyed reading this post since I decided to try my hand at okra in my first garden in years. I have two plants that I started inside (thought they would never grow when I transplanted them), they are now about 3 ft. high. Then, a few weeks ago, I planted four more from seed--they took right off and they are about a foot high. They are all doing well in my Square Foot Garden.

As to the black ants (or ants in general) on Okra. I've been watching these little guys work and it seems to me that they may have a purpose. (It's the only plant in my garden that they are this attracted to), Watching them reminded me of the Peony bushes where ants work endlessly at the buds to open the tight blossoms. The ants are attracted to the sap and the blossoms would never open without the help of the ants removing the glue-like substance that holds them shut.

On inspection, it seems that the buds of the Okra are also very tight. Might it be that like the Peony, the ants are removing the sap allowing the Okra buds to open? They don't seem to be harming the plants in any way.

Though, I can say I'm glad mine are the little black ants. Have never encountered fire ants.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

hi as to planting okra get the soil busted or even screened pretty fine for like the top 1/2 " also try to have top of row mostly level plant about 4 inches apart (thin later if you want to 10"). Mom used to soak the seeds overnite in water to help them sprout as okra can be hard to sprout. if you dont do this hand water the row for about 10 days every outher day. Birds can find the seeds as you have to plant them 1/4" deep (quarter inch). i have seen and used a technich it can be helpful and that is this take enough boards (wood) after you plant the seed and water you put the boards over the rows on top of the seeds leave them thar for about 5 days then start fliping them every day till you see the okra seeds starting to sprout when several are sprouting take the boards away .
thinthe weeds as you plants reach dominance (4") habd cultivate for the first time and hoe them at least twice moderatly for the fist 6 weeks you may use seven dust if bugs eat a lot of leaves but not after they flower . if you get jap beetles spray them with water and a teaspoon of dawn soap per gallon of mixed it will kill jap beetles a few hols wont hurt okra but you shant let the bugs eat over 10% of the leaves for shur or at least till they are makin pods (ok). Some ammonium nitrate in water will soften ground for such plants but they will grow like a weed anyways!if its dry for 4 days i give them (plants ) a little drink after sun has gone down (beware).....pick the pods about 4 inches in length if they are over grown and tuff cut them of the stem anyway they will ruin the stalk yeild .If you fry with oil flour and corn meal or soak slices in stirred eggs and put corn meal and flour in a freezer bag pour sliced okra in to the bag and shake it up for breaded okra balls use more oil in pan this way (okay?)
i think smaller fryed batches do better then big skillets also put a lid on the frying okra for about 6 minits then take it off continues frying over medium for 4 minits turn them over in pan at least 4 times make shur they are ever so slightly scortched if you hav to go to med hi keep warm till served with stuff like corn on the cob soup beans and onions cooked cabbage fried taters butermilk and sliced cold tomaters and cucumbers corn bread optional so is fried pan bread that is flour and water fried in a pan like a pancake but a little thicker (1/2")


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I like okra a lot. I would even eat very tender ones of the bush. (as some do it in salad). I also like them Fried, in stew, soups. Other way (my favorite) is to batter ( as you would shrimps, mushrooms ...) and then deep fry. The batter has to be slightly thinner than pancake batter, with some starch and baking soda.
I also cook it whole in stew and also steam .

So I guess there are as many ways as there are preferences.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

That's for sure. My mother used to dump it out of a can, into a pan and cook it till it was ruined. As a kid, I liked the taste, but couldn't get beyond the slime of it that way. When I got older, I realized that I liked it spread out with tomatoes and in soups, pickles, then tried frying fresh. and very much like it that way.

I love to grow it, not just for the vegetable, but because I find the plant so interesting and almost majestic in the garden. Here in my WV backyard SFG, my neighbors were curious about the tall plant in my garden and it made for a great conversation starter, as well.

I didn't get it put out last year due to some time constraints, but this year, I plan on planting about 8, which should do for one person just fine. I plant Spineless Simpson, as it doesn't get so tall that I can't get to the pods without a ladder.


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I'm growing okra for the first time (no idea which kind) and I currently have ONE pod ready to pick... the other ones are smallish but may not be that far behind.

My question is... how long do they keep? I feel silly picking only one pod - I mean, what am I going to do with that? My okra looks pretty healthy, but I have no idea how much it will produce per plant or when. I have six plants, and one seems to be a bit more mature than the others.

Just trying to figure out best harvesting methods... ??

Thanks!


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

I would put it in soup and have gumbo.

When you have more you can just toss it in a bag to freeze, or some say to blanch it first. I've taken to "blanching" some things in the microwave, which avoids all that water and steam. After all, the aim is to stop the enzyme action.

You can also pickle okra, can it with tomatoes and onions in a pressure canner.

My mother in law used to put bits and pieces and left over meat and veggies into a container in the freezer and at the end of the month, made refrigerator soup.

There are lots of ideas here and lots of demonstrations on Youtube for food preservation and recipes. I go to Youtube a lot because I'm no expert and like to see how it's done. Find a way that suits you as long as it's a safe method. :)


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

But... what do I do with just one piece of okra? LOL


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RE: Okra Newbie Questions

Daisy, it might have been better to start a new thread because rr was answering another portion of the thread. I usually keep okra in a plastic bag for perhaps up to a week. In your case, you could try storing it that way to see how long it lasts, but if it were me, I would throw it away while waiting for more to develop. I don't recall having a single plant having more than two pods ready at one time, but I am attempting to pick them at ~ four inch length. If you fail to pick for a day, many may be too big on the next.


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