Ethiopian slaves brought the okra plant to America's South, where it's still popular today. The green okra pods have a ridged skin and a tapered, oblong shape. Although available fresh year-round in the South, the season for the rest of the country is from about May through October. When buying fresh okra look for firm, brightly colored pods under 4 inches long. Larger pods may be tough and fibrous. Avoid those that are dull in color, limp or blemished. Refrigerate okra in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Canned and frozen okra is also available. These green pods can be prepared in a variety of ways including braising, baking and frying. When cooked, okra gives off a rather viscous substance that serves to thicken any liquid in which it is cooked. Throughout the South, it's a favorite ingredient in many dishes, the best known being gumbo, where it's used both for thickening and for flavor. Fresh okra contains fair amounts of vitamins A and C.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Related Recipes From Food Network
- Smothered Okra and Tomatoes
- Air-fried Okra
- Cajun Tempura Okra with Scallion Dipping Sauce
- Yankee Okra
- Fried Okra with Shrimp (Mozambique)
Related Content From Cooking Channel
- Spicy Marinated Jalapenos, Haricots Verts, Red Pear Tomatoes and Okra
- Shellfish and Andouille Gumbo with Shrimp, Scallops, Clams and Oysters with Crispy Okra
- Braised Oxtails with Sweet Potato Pudding and Fried Okra
- Seafood Okra Gumbo
- Fried Okra, Eggplant, and Shrimp with Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce