For the past few years, we’ve grown a fairly sizable crop of okra. From what I’ve read about self-sufficiency farming, this is unusual, but hey, we don’t mind that! So yesterday we planted out our tiny okra plants, and in a couple of month’s time, we’ll be eating fresh okra!
Okra, also called “lady fingers” for some odd reason, seems to invoke strong feelings in people. When I tell them that we grow okra, they say
Oh, it’s that slimy stuff. I hate it. It makes me gag.
I understand what they are talking about. If not really fresh, and if cooked too long, okra has a glutinous substance inside it, and as you cook it, it can turn into a rather unpleasant texture (aka “slime”)!
But if you grow it, pick it and cook it within a day or two, it’s gorgeous. We use it in many ways, including:
- Cut into pieces, roll in cornmeal, then fry quickly in olive oil
- Cut, and throw into a curry at the last minute
- Cut, and fry with small, whole new potatoes with a bit of mild curry powder
It tastes great, and is good for you. It’s low in sodium, fat and calories and chock full of nutrients. And it’s not a bit slimy. (as an aside, the plant has the most gorgeous flowers)
But consider this. The okra you see in the supermarket has been shipped from afar. It may be days, or even weeks old. How can you expect this (or any other) vegetable to taste its best when it’s not even fresh? And even after getting to the supermarket, it may have a use by date of a week or more – how can this be?
And don’t even get me started on the nutritional value of ‘old’ vegetables and fruit. Eat 5 a day, we are told, but what nutritional value do supermarket vegetables really have? You gotta wonder.