Okra flowers bloom for just one day and pods are ready for picking two or three days later.When picked often, okra will keep producing until the first frost.In late summer, cut the tops of tall plants back by one-third and new buds and pods will appear along the main stem to produce a late-season crop.Okra should be harvested “cut-and-come-again”—that means pick pods every other day so that you get pods when they are tender and taste best. .
Growing Okra Plants
Choose your sunniest spot for growing okra, and wait until the weather is warm to set out your plants.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. .
How to Tell When Okra Is Ripe
Okra is ripe and ready for harvesting approximately five days after the plant flowers, advises Michigan State University Extension.When harvesting okra, be sure to check for ripe okra every two to three days.Harvest regularly once the plant starts flowering.After planting, you can start picking most varieties of okra in about 60 to 70 days.If seed pods are allowed to mature, the plant may stop producing more flowers and pods.If this occurs, cut back the plant so the stem is 6 to 12 inches tall and then water and fertilize the plant to stimulate new growth. .
How to Choose, Store, and Prepare Okra for Recipes
Place fresh okra in a paper bag, or wrap it in a paper towel and place the paper towel in a perforated plastic bag.Freeze the whole pods or slice the pods crosswise and arrange them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.Freeze and then transfer the slices to zip-close freezer bags.It makes excellent pickles as well.Gumbo likely got its name from the okra pod.Before cooking whole okra, slice off the tips and stem ends. .
How to Grow Okra
Gardeners in the southern United States usually reserve a spot to grow okra, because it's a staple in southern cooking.Growing okra.Okra will grow in many soil types, so mulch and fertilize as needed.Regular watering is needed and is particularly critical during flowering and pod development.During extended dry spells, a weekly deep soaking is beneficial.It grows and bears seed pods until frost, which quickly turns them black and kills them.Start harvesting a few days after the okra blooms fade.At that point the seed pods should be soft and two to three inches long.Pick the pods at least every other day, as they quickly turn from tender to tough the bigger they grow. .
Pickled Okra Recipe
Which brings me to okra, the poster child of vegetables with texture issues.The inside of an okra pod is somewhat hollow, with tender seeds, but a lot of air.I planted okra in the garden for the first time this year, so I now have my own steady supply.Look for unblemished pods, and if you are using pint sized jars, no more than 4 inches long. .
When and How to Harvest Okra: Tips and Advice
But when are the plants ready to harvest and how do you do it?Even so-called “spineless” varieties may have some setulose growth, so don’t be surprised if you encounter these fine protrusions on pods, stems, and leaves.If you find that they’re already woody when you pick at three inches, toss this harvest into a dish that’s going to be cooked low and slow, which may help to soften them a bit.It may be tempting to leave fruits on the plant to see how large they’ll get, but don’t – unless you plan to use them in a floral arrangement, or dry them for seeds.This is also a good way to save seeds from open-pollinated varieties that will produce replicas of parent plants when sown next growing season.People seem to love or hate okra, with no middle ground.Slimy, seed-filled pods just aren’t for everyone.Many people, especially in the American South, prepare the vegetable by frying it in a dredge of cornmeal.We’re not positive, but these crispy, whole pods seems to be freeze-dried.Prior to dehydration, add a variety of seasonings and sea salt if you wish and eat them as a crispy snack.Pickled okra makes a tasty addition to a charcuterie plate!Do you have any okra harvesting tips and tricks? .