Because of its inherent slimy texture, okra doesn’t appear at the top of most people’s “favorite veggies” list. However, okra is a wonderful and nutritious food, and when prepared well can come out completely non-slimy. Read on for some interesting facts about okra and then check out some delicious recipes that will convert even the most ardent okra haters into okra lovers.
1. Okra is actually a fruit. A fruit is defined as anything that contains seeds. Okra has seeds and is therefore a fruit, but because it lacks the sweetness of a pineapple or an apple, it is regarded as a vegetable.
2. Okra is also called ladies’ fingers. Perhaps if the vegetable went by it’s alternate name, it would have more fans.
3. When storing okra for later use, never wash it as the moisture will cause it to become slimy. Instead, put in a paper bag and refrigerate.
4. When okra is cooked it can turn into a slimy, gooey unappetizing mess. This can be remedied by either roasting it or preparing it with vinegar or lemon juice beforehand.
5. Okra doesn’t have to be cooked to be eaten. It tastes great raw in salads.
6. Step aside, kale! Okra is a superfood. It is low in calories, but high in calcium, protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and magnesium. It also contains a good dose of vitamins C, K, and A, and can enhance the immune system.
7. Okra has many health benefits. It has been found to reduce asthma symptoms, prevent diabetes, relieve constipation, and help those suffering from exhaustion and depression.
8. Okra can keep skin smooth and help prevent pimples. It also can rejuvenate hair. Just slice okra horizontally, boil until it becomes very slimy, cool the brew, mix with a few drops of lemon, and then rinse your hair out with it.
9. Really mature (old) okra is used to make rope and paper, so avoid those when shopping for okra to eat.
Now, on to the good stuff. Who knew there were so many tasty ways to cook okra?
Delicious Okra Recipes
1. Bacon Wrapped Okra Poppers
Everything tastes better with bacon…including okra!
2. Crock-Pot Sausage Gumbo
A flavorful and delicious recipe that is super easy to make and a crowd pleaser.
3. Okra Pilaf
A South Carolina okra pilaf with okra, rice, bacon and green bell pepper. This tasty dish also goes by the name of Limpin’ Susan.
4. Creole Chicken Okra
Hearty, healthy and filling, this recipe uses tons of vegetables and spice, but comes together quickly to make a great weeknight meal.
5. Okra Parmigiana
A delicious southern take on Eggplant Parmigiana using okra instead of eggplant. Okra never tasted so good.
6. Okra and Corn Maque Choux
A classic Cajun dish of sautéd fresh vegetables. FYI, Maque Choux is pronounced “mock shoe.”
7. Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, and Okra Gumbo
This authentic shrimp, andouille, and okra gumbo recipe is simmered for hours and is like a true taste of New Orleans in your kitchen.
8. “Gumbo-laya” Stew
Full of zesty flavors, this “Gumbo-laya” Stew is the best of gumbo and jambalaya in one with spicy sausage, chicken, shrimp and okra over fragrant garlic rice.
9. Baked Popcorn Okra
Okra tossed in chickpea flour batter, coated in spiced breadcrumbs and baked until crunchy crisp.
Do you have an appetite for okra after reading this article? Which recipe are you most excited to try?
Featured photo credit: ***Karen/Flickr via flickr.com