"For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Isaiah 61:11

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Today in the spotlight: Okra

Okra "Hibiscus esculentus"
The Clemson Spineless variety (in photograph) is a compact plant with dark green okra. Being spineless it is much easier to harvest than other varieties. The pods can grow up to 9" but are best if picked at 3 inches. It grows best in full sun & well drained soil. I does not tolerate cold well and the seeds should be planted about four weeks after the averarage last frost date.
It is known for being used in gumbo or often eaten fried.
Benefits: High in vitamin C, tasty, the hibiscus like flowers have ornamental value.
Below are some recipes for preparing Okra.

"Popcorn Okra"
From Charlie on The Helpful Gardener Forum:

"In a cast iron pan, pour enough vegetable oil to cover 1/2 of the pan. Then let ot spread over the whole bottom. Get it hot. Pour finely chopped okra in about a half inch deep. It takes a lot of okra. DON'T BREAD IT. Add alittle salt and pepper. Fry it until it's dark brown [nearly blackened]. Put it in a tupperware bowl, put on your favorite movie and eat it like popcorn. It'll make you cry."

"Fried Okra" (various recipes online are similiar to this one)


* 10 pods okra, sliced in 1/4 inch pieces
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1 cup cornmeal
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil


1. In a small bowl, soak okra in egg for 5 to 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, salt, and pepper.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge okra in the cornmeal mixture, coating evenly. Carefully place okra in hot oil; stir continuously. Reduce heat to medium when okra first starts to brown, and cook until golden. Drain on
paper towels.