Sunday, August 8, 2010

What do I do with Okra?

IMG_1235 Okra is one of those classic southern vegetables. It loves the heat and scoffs at 95 degree temperatures and 80% humidity. It proudly stands at 5-6 feet tall a month after the tomato plants have withered and died.

Even though I grew up in Texas, I did not grow up eating okra. Probably because as a kid I didn’t like vegetables and I bet my parents were not fans of okra (maybe they’ll leave a comment on this post and we’ll find out why we never had okra ;)). I’ve never eaten okra as an adult, so what possessed me to plant it in my garden!? Please refer to paragraph #1.
Last year I planted an okra plant. It did great, but I had no idea when to harvest or what to cook, so no okra was actually consumed. This year, I have two Clemson Spineless plants. They’ve been producing for about a month, but I never seem to get out to the garden fast enough to harvest them before they get too big, so most have gone to the compost pile.

When you see so many 5” long okras, it skews your perception of what is ready to be picked and what isn’t. According to the internet, okra should be picked when it is 2”-3” (but that does vary according to the variety you plant). That means checking on the plants every other day so the okra doesn’t get too big. It grows so fast you can almost see it growing right before your eyes.

Tonight, I chose the smallest of the okra that I’ve harvested, I had about a cups worth (which I am equating to a half pound). I cooked Indian-style Okra from a recipe I found on It turned out great! I used butter, just like the recipe called for, not margarine or any other butter substitute. We get our organic grass-fed butter from US Wellness Meats.
There’s more okra coming every day, does anyone have any other okra recipes I should try?


  1. Yes! I never grew up eating okra either (parents from NYC plus it's just not as common in Texas as elsewhere in the south). But last year I discovered a Southern Living recipe for grilled okra. Oh my gosh, it's so easy and yummy. Just oil and salt and pepper the okra, skewer it and grill. It only needs about 2 minutes per side. SL's recipe for a lemon basil yogurt dip for the okra is very good, but could be optional if you don't have the time. The okra is good warm or at room temperature. Give it a try and see what you think. Oh, one other good thing about okra - the plants and flowers are pretty to me!

  2. I also really like the look of okra flowers. Thanks for the recipe suggestion, it looks good.

  3. This is a one pot meal, I used to cook more often, before I married a man who won't eat okra...dang it.

    You'll need about a pound or so of very small okra. Trim the caps so that they are flush, but don't cut into the pod itself. (Leave it capped by the very end of the stem.) Rinse well, dry and set aside.

    Chop up a medium sized onion and a bell pepper, saute in olive oil/butter mixture (50/50), until wilted. Add the okra and saute until okra is bright green, but not done.

    In an oven proof casserole, layer the okra/veggie mixture with your choice of meat (you may brown if you like, I didn't always.) Fresh tomato slices (or canned whole), and lemon slices.

    At this point, you can use either broth, stock, tomato juice or (my favorite) V8 juice to cover the meat and veggies.

    Cover the dish and place in medium oven (350 ) until the meat is done. If you like, you can uncover it for the last few minutes and top with your choice of cheese and let it melt/toast.

    I liked this dish a lot, never named it, and this is as close to a written recipe there is for

    (feel free to add thyme, basil, oregano or any other herb that floats your boat...)

  4. Thanks for the recipe Nancy! The okra production has slowed, but it is still coming in.