The Farm Stand: How To Cook Okra

August 21, 2013 | By | Comments (5)
okra ds The Farm Stand: How To Cook Okra

Photo by Hannah Hayes

Welcome back to the Farm Stand, your weekly guide to seasonal Southern produce.

Today’s post is brought to you by okra, our region’s beloved, witch-fingered vegetable that has managed to scare off such Yankees as horror novelist Stephen King (according to his friend writer Roy Blount Jr.).

Sure it’s seedy, some say slimy, even snotty, but that hasn’t stopped us Southerners from enjoying it fried, in gumbos, stewed with tomatoes, put up in blue jars, and grilled for a good 200+ years. Besides, when have a few ill-informed comments ever stopped us from enjoying ourselves?

But if you’re just starting out on the road to embracing okra, there are ways to make that journey easier. Just follow our okra appreciation guide below.

Okra-omics

  • When it comes to picking perfect pods, large okra are typically tough and have a much more slimy texture than tinier pods, so err on the smaller side. Avoid okra with big brown streaks, but some spots here and there are fine.
  • Unlike Steel Magnolias or The Band’s Music From Big Pink, okra is not an evergreen classic to be enjoyed whenever. Plan to use your pods within 2-3 days of purchase. Until then, place in a plastic or paper bag in the fridge.
  • While cooking okra in hot oil or with an acidic ingredient will cut down on the slime, don’t obsess when it comes to making gumbo, which relies on okra for a thicker consistency.

What to Make

Fret not, pod-fearing. If there is one hand you should hold as you continue down the road to true okra acceptance, it’s ours. Try some of our okra recipes and let us know your favorite way to cook with it.

COMMENTS

  1. Arthur in the Garden!

    Its a strange thing but once you get the hang of cooking it right its great!

    August 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm
  2. trendbytes

    Reblogged this on trendbytes and commented:
    The best way is the last one listed: Charred Okra. This southern girl does not wash and dry her okra as per Virginia Willis. I simply wipe mine off with a dry cloth, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw on the grill with whatever else is cooking…wonderfully tasty, and no gumminess!

    August 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm
  3. bunnbunn48

    Since we thought about steaming okra, that is the only way we cook them. Just put them in a steamer with a little olive oil spread over them and a little salt. Cook until tender. They are sooooo good and no slime to deal with.

    August 22, 2013 at 8:48 pm
  4. Squash and Okra! | lovelyseasonscomeandgo

    […] The Farm Stand: How To Cook Okra (thedailysouth.southernliving.com) […]

    August 23, 2013 at 9:15 am
  5. Mary Sears

    Years ago I grossed out neighbor (from the north) by putting okra in peas.

    August 23, 2013 at 10:15 am