I may have spent a few weeks every summer in Enola with my Granny Tommie, but I'm a city girl.Luckily, the sting can be neutralized quickly with hot water and cooking, which is why eating okra isn't painful.As I contemplated what to do with them, I remembered a dish my friend Nathania makes: pickled okra wrapped in Black Forest ham spread with cream cheese.But I didn't want to haul out the water bath canner for one little jar, so I opted for a refrigerator version.If you have a lot of okra, or prefer pantry storage, this recipe can easily be doubled (or tripled) and processed in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes.Red okra loses its crimson hue when exposed to acid or heat, such as hot pickling brine.Tightly pack pods, along with the dill, dried chile and garlic in a pint canning jar.Top with additional water, if necessary, to ensure okra pods are submerged in liquid, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace. .

Growing Okra Plants

Growing okra requires warm weather, but by using seedlings, you can shave 3 weeks or more from its usual long season.As long as okra seedlings are handled gently, as if they were breakable eggs, they can be slipped into the garden – or into large containers – just as the hot season begins.For the best results, begin with vigorous okra starter plants from Bonnie Plants®, the company that has been helping home gardeners succeed for over a century.Space okra plants 10 inches apart in a very sunny area that has fertile, well-drained soil with a neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.0.Improve native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.Okra loves the heat and can withstand a dry spell, but do your best to give plants 1 inch of water every week.Water the little plants if rain is not expected, but wait a few days before mulching to give the soil a chance to absorb the sun's warmth.In addition to gaining height, okra's leaves get bigger as the plants grow and begin producing yellow blossoms followed by tender pods.Warm weather helps pods grow quickly, so check plants every day once they start producing.This raised bed with dwarf okra provides good drainage, improved soil, and easy access.By the end of the season, full-sized okra plants will tower overhead as these do at the edge of a tree and shrub border. .

Prickly okra is worth the battle

Well, it would be perfect for harvesting this vegetable, and though it has one intolerable condition, it is one healthy plant and one that should be enjoyed by all.Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Moench) is probably known best for its use in gumbo, but there are other reasons to eat this vegetable.Also known as “lady fingers,” it is not only the green pod that can be enjoyed – the new leaves can also be cooked or added to that favorite salad.In 1658, okra was introduced to the Americas by ships plying the Atlantic slave trade.Botanically speaking, okra is a perennial flowering plant that belongs to the Malvaceae family.Mole crickets may cut some of the tender plants down, so make sure you have extra seeds so you can replant.The pods have a good amount of vitamin A, which you need to maintain a healthy mucus membrane and skin.Before you know it, you can don that suit of armor, or you can simply wear long sleeves and gloves while harvesting.For more information about okra or other healthy vegetables that grow in our area, email us at [email protected] .

Okra: Easy to grow, sometimes hard on skin

Certain individuals experience intense itching of fingers, hands and forearms when harvesting or processing okra.Skin exposed to pods, stems or leaves turns red and develops an itch.Most individuals feel no effects, but those with sensitive skin should wear gloves or protective clothing.Don't be overly alarmed by the hypodermic needle analogy because many plants deliver even more potent toxin loads.Home gardeners who itch after picking or preparing okra should consider growing spineless or smooth pod varieties.They produce "honeydew," a sugary substance that encourages fire ants to feed.If heavy infestations of fire ants are present, you may want to control them with materials approved for the home garden; use and follow label directions.Many novice gardeners fail at okra production because they plant in cold soils. .

Okra Plant Grow Harvest Okra

Grow Okra and you will harvest a unique veggie you can eat right off the plant or use to cook in many different ways.The okra does double duty by providing a beautiful mallow flower of pale yellow with dark purple throat.Spineless varieties have been developed that eliminate the spines from the pods, such as the popular This article may contain affiliate links.Okra is a warm weather lover, so this is a good plant to consider for starting indoors to get a jump on the maturity date.Okra needs warm soil to germinate, so direct sow seeds when the ground gets to about 68 degrees.If seeds are planted too soon, they may just deteriorate in the ground waiting for the soil temperature to warm up.Okra seedlings look spindly at first, with large leaves at the top that appear to overpower the stem.Annie Oakley Okra – Spineless pods on compact plants that grow 4-5 feet.Emerald Green Velvet Okra – Spineless pods to 7” long on two foot tall plants.While spineless varieties of okra pods have been developed, the plant stems and leaves still have spines.Compost – Tall mature okra plants have substantial woody stems. .


This very fine (nearly great) vegetable is shamelessly slandered by folk who don’t understand its cooking qualities.That mucilagenous quality is prized by those who appreciate its uses in gumbo, wherein it thickens up the soup considerably while adding good flavor.But the best way to enjoy okra properly—and without any gooeyness—is the old Southern way: coated with cornmeal batter and fried quick and deep.The Burmese is a dwarf okra (typically tops out at about 3'), which is the sort most likely to succeed in short-season areas, but others have said that Pentagreen is the only successful one for them.(If you happen to be in a less-challenging climate, the mosat frequently mentioned all-round good okras, besides the three mentioned above, include Stewarts Zeebest and Granny Franklin; the quite common “Clemson Spineless” is said to be productive, but very quick to get woody and tough.).So “days to maturity” for a cultivar may not sufficiently define its usefulness—it should be explicitly labelled as suited for northern growing.From the University of Arkansas publication “Okra Production Update for Small Acreage Growers”: Flowering is day-length sensitive.We repeat that the safest bet is to use varieties stated as (by the seedsman or a number of experienced northern-region gardeners) as suited for northern growing.If we call it 64 days, and recall that our peak heat comes around July 22nd, that suggests planting out around June 20th for harvest around August 23rd—a period when our average daily highs run from 80° at each end to 90° in the middle, which seems satisfactory.(As one of the links farther below says, one grower in a tough climate direct-seeded some Clemson around the 1st of July more or less as a lark, and got surprisingly good results.).Okra is another of those plants that really, really doesn’t want its root system joggled about, so it’s almost mandatory to start seedlings in a peat or cow pot.Okra should not immediately precede or follow vine crops—such as squash or sweet potatoes—owing to the risk of nematode buildup in the soil.But recall the heights okra plants can rapidly soar to (unless their dwarf types, which still grow up some).It is best to water slowly, and directly at the base of the plant, which obviously suggests drip lines or at least soaker hoses as the ideal approach (as it is for almost all vegetables).As we have said, Okra left to its own in benevolent conditions can easily grow to 8', 9', and in a few cases almost 15' in height, to the extent that it is almost a joke (and literally requires a ladder for picking).Remember: the pods rapidly become fibrous and woody, and so must be harvested within a week of the fruit being pollinated to be edible.Okra plants, and pods, often have numerous small spines; those can irritate anyone’s skin, and moreover some people are outright allergic to them.A light washing of the pods will remove the spiny hairs, and okra can then be eaten fresh (though it is usually cooked).Okra is a member of the Malvaceae, the mallow family, and is related to hibiscus and quite closely to cotton.“Gumbo” is the old African name for okra, today transferred in the English-speaking world to the name of the famous New Orleans cajun-style soup.There is an “Ode to Okra”, whose complete words are available on line; it is unlikely that you will hear it on MTV any time soon.Like all our sites, this one is hosted at the highly regarded Pair Networks, whom we strongly recommend.All Owlcroft systems run on Ubuntu Linux and we heartily recommend it to everyone—click on the link for more information. .

Five Ways to Eat Okra

Okra's a strange little vegetable, the kind of thing you might not guess was edible if no one told you.I admit, if okra hadn't been included in our CSA share these past few weeks, I would probably still be unacquainted with it—and I'm still not exactly in love.Okra's a beloved staple in other regions, such as the American South, parts of Africa and the Mediterranean.The okra plant, Abelmoschus esculentus, is a cousin of cotton in the mallow family.Not all varieties have those sharp hairs on the outside of the pods, but if present, their sting can be quickly neutralized by hot water.Dredged in egg and cornmeal and fried to a golden crisp, it's a "simple Southern classic.".Maybe, like Cooking Books blogger Andrea promises, this spicy version will make an okra believer out of me yet. .

Curing An Extra Itchy Case Of The Gardening Stupids – Crazy

I have figs whose milky sap can cause itching and then there is the parsnips that can cause a chemical burn if you rub up against the leaves and stems.I believe the main culprit was the okra spines I got into while reaching across the plants to harvest some pods but, I also carried in an arm full of figs.It’s entirely possible this was a cumulative rash from the many bad decisions I made that day to handle things without gloves or sleeves.I first grabbed a tube of anti-itch cream from my husband’s dopp kit and applied enough to cover a large farm animal, with no results.The itching was completely uncontrolled with the cream so my mind started racing looking for an alternative to what I had already tried.That’s when I remembered we have a can of instant oatmeal in the bathroom to mix in my kid’s baths when they get viral or allergic rashes.I left it on long enough for it to start drying and then rubbed off the big chunks of oatmeal over the kitchen sink.What I was left with was a thin powdery coating of the oatmeal paste (my older boy noted that my skin looked like a zombie.).If you are getting crazy itching on your forearms every time you get dry skin or after you are out in the sun for a while: you may have something called Brachioradial pruritus.or something equivalent to Cetaphil lotion and I make sure to do it after every shower or bath: before the itching has an opportunity to start!Since the disorder above is also light sensitive it finally makes sense why my bare arms were crazy itchy after being out in the sun gardening. .

How to Prepare Okra (with Pictures)

Many chefs choose not to explore the complexity of okra simply from a bad experience, or maybe by tainted word of mouth. .


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