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Fruit and Vegetable Guide

Photo of Okra

Okra

Summer

Description: Okra is a green, fuzzy, deeply ridged pod. Most common in warmer climates, it can also be grown in cooler areas if the proper variety and cultivation techniques are used.

Selection: Choose bright green pods about 3-4 inches long. They should be firm and moist, not spotted, moldy, limp or dry.

Storage and handling: Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator 2-3 days. When ready to use wash well in a bowl of cold water.

Preparation: Remove stem end and slice if desired. Prevent okra from becoming slimy by adding vinegar or other acidic ingredients such as tomatoes when cooking, or by breading okra with cornmeal before frying.

Serving suggestions: Okra can be fried (SIS, p. 117), pickled, or added to curries (SIS, p. 116), sautés, and soups. Okra is used in Gumbo, a southern specialty soup, to help thicken it. Substitute okra for zucchini in ratatouille (SIS, p. 125). Dress cooked okra with butter and lemon juice, butter and curry powder, or toss with a vinaigrette and chill.

Nutrients: Vitamins A, B6, C, K; thiamin; folate; calcium; fiber.

1 lb raw = 8 cups whole (4 c. sliced)
1 lb cooked = 2 1⁄4 cups

The Fruit and Vegetable Guide is reproduced here with permission of Herald Press, publisher of Simply in Season.

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