Check out some recipe inspiration above, and read on for tips on buying and storing this Southern staple.Okra is best when it's fresh, but it can be stored up to two days in the fridge wrapped loosely in a plastic bag. .
Grocery Shopping Guide: How to Buy and Store Okra Like a Pro
If done right, you will find yourself digging into this veggie every given chance.With winters coming to an end, bhindi is the seasonal vegetable for the next couple of months.For instance, wash the bhindi first, pat dry well with a kitchen towel and then chop them as per your recipe.So look out for the ones which are bright green in colour and not dull or black.To pick the best, you need to put in a little effort because nothing in life comes easy.Use the shorter variety for quick stir-fries as it cooks really fast.When you pick bhindi, make sure that it doesn’t have blemishes or damaged spots.Sometimes, if you are not careful, you may find tiny black insects inside when you chop the bhindi.Point to remember: When you buy vegetables, don’t do so in bulk but as per what you require for three to four days. .
What Is Okra and How Is It Used?
It's filled with tiny white seeds and is sometimes called lady's fingers due to its long, slender, tubelike shape.Native to Ethiopia, okra was brought to North America by enslaved people and settlers when they arrived centuries ago.Leading growers include India, Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Ghana, Egypt, Benin, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Cameroon—it's also grown in Florida and other southeastern states.Okra is essential in Southern, Caribbean, and Indian cuisines in gumbo and stews, and it's one of those foods that people either love or hate.Typically, those who dislike it blame the way okra becomes slimy and silky when it's cooked, but others enjoy it for this same reason.However, choosing the right cooking method, such as frying, grilling, sautéeing, and pan-roasting, can reduce or prevent it from becoming slimy.Grocery stores in the U.S. typically sell fresh okra by the pound during the summer months when it's in season.In some Caribbean regions, okra is breaded and deep-fried while in other cuisines it is pickled, which is one way to cut down on its slimy consistency.It will produce edible seed pods after a pretty white, yellow, pink, or red hibiscus-like flower emerges.Or follow the lead of Southern cooks, who fry or bake battered pods before freezing.There are many varieties of okra, with names like Clemson Spineless, Annie Oakley, Baby Bubba Hybrid, Cajun Delight, Louisiana Green Velvet, and more.The green okra is the most common form found in the U.S. with pods that can look fuzzy or smooth, long or short, pointed or rounded, and depending on the variety, plants that grow three to eight feet tall. .
Where to Buy Okra & Find it in the Grocery Store
Since I grew up with a lot of African mates, okra is a fruit (even though it’s cooked as a vegetable) that brings me some nostalgia, as it was included in some of the best African dishes I ate while growing up in Portugal.If you want to visit Walmart or another grocery store near you, your best chance to find okra is in the produce aisle next to other fruits like tomatoes or bell peppers.It is popular in the southern United States, parts of Africa and the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America.Okra has a mild taste and unique texture, and some even say it’s similar to eggplant.According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of raw okra contains the following nutrients:.Okra is also a great source of antioxidants, with its seeds containing a variety of antioxidant compounds, including phenolic compounds and flavonoid derivatives, such as catechins and quercetin.– Alongside Amazon, Walmart is also a good place to purchase these items online.Whole Foods – The best place to buy fruits and veggies in my opinion.– Trader Joe’s is another supermarket that sells a variety of okra products, though it may vary from one to another.Multi-Cultural Markets – Okra originated in Africa and it’s also popular in other regions of the world such as South America and the Caribbean.For that reason, you have a pretty good chance of finding fresh okra at multi-cultural markets (African, South American, etc).Gumbo is a creole stew that is popular in Louisiana, and it typically consists of meat and/or seafood.To make a vegan adaptation, the author chose to use lentils, beans, and vegetables like bell peppers, celery, and onions.This unique okra popcorn recipe is made using okra, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, and plenty of other condiments such as cajun, garam masala, and southern fried spice.
Okra: Nutrition, benefits, and recipe tips
Also, people can use many parts of the plant, including the fresh leaves, buds, flowers, pods, stems, and seeds.Gumbo is popular in the southern United States, parts of Africa and the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America.Individual needs for nutrients vary according to age, sex, activity level, and caloric intake.To help a person find out how much of a nutrient they need, the USDA provide an interactive tool .According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one cup of raw okra, weighing 100 grams (g) contains :.A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce a person’s chances of developing a range of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.In a 2014 study, researchers used lectin from okra in a lab test to treat human breast cancer cells.Low folate levels can lead to pregnancy loss and problems for the child, including conditions such as spina bifida.The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend an intake of 400 mcg of folate each day for adults.After approximately 1 month, the rats that consumed the powder had lower blood sugar and fat levels than those that did not.According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating foods that are high in fiber can reduce harmful cholesterol levels in the blood.High fiber foods lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and diabetes.People can incorporate fiber into their diet by choosing fibrous foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.Consuming foods that are good sources of vitamin K may help strengthen bones and prevent fractures.In Asian medicine, people add okra extract to foods to protect against irritation and inflammatory gastric diseases.In medicine, the viscous extract of okra could be useful as a tablet binder, a suspending agent, a serum albumin extender, a plasma replacement, or a blood volume expander.
Okra is at its peak in the summer — especially in the months of July and August, tapering off in early fall.It is a minor commercial crop in the US, with production concentrated primarily in the South — especially in Texas, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama.Globally, India leads cultivation, followed by Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq and Cote d’Ivoire.Tip: If you’re feeling intimidated by its famous mucilage, here’s a method for reducing the slime: salt whole pods first, briefly soak them in water with some lemon or vinegar, drain and cook.Frying, roasting, grilling, or quick sautéing are all methods that cut back on the mucilage.If you do enjoy the slimier side of the vegetable, try it as the traditional thickener in Creole gumbo, a stew usually made of shellfish and sausage.You can also look to Brazil, India and the Middle East for recipes outside of the Southern cornmeal-fried okra comfort zone — these cuisines have strong traditions of cooking with the pods. .
Best Southern Fried Okra Recipe – How to Make Fried Okra
Along with being a staple in the South, okra is also grown in Oklahoma, where Ree Drummond plants the summer vegetable in her garden.Fried okra is a delicious summer appetizer or weeknight Southern comfort food side dish—when it’s done right (aka no slime).In fact, this fried okra has an incredible extra crispy, golden crust that comes from a blend of seasoned cornmeal.The bite-sized okra is quickly dipped in egg, then tossed in a zip-top bag with a breading mixture made from a combination of cornmeal, flour, and cayenne pepper.Look for fresh okra in July and August (the smaller pods will be tender and less woody) and dry it to prevent it from becoming slimy. .