Okra or okro is also known as ladies’ fingers, ochro or gumbo depending on where you come from or where you live. It is a plant in the mallow family. It is believed to originate from North Eastern Africa are Ethiopia region.
Others may argue that it originated in South Asia while other lay claims in West Africa. Whatever the origins, it is grown for its edible green seed pods in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world.
Okra is a perennial flowering plant which grows to about 2 meters tall. It bears leaves that reach about 10 to 20 cm in length. The plant which is related to cocoa and cotton is grown for its dark green seed pods which can reach up to 18 cm long. The radius forms a pentagon cross-section and produces several mucilaginous white seeds.
Okra is heat and drought resistant and can tolerate clay soils but on the other hand, it cannot survive frost. It grows best in well-drained and manure-rich soil.
The pods are usually harvested while they are green and immature. They are available in markets all year round. They possess a mild flavor. Pods should be purchased firm but tender. Avoid those that are withered, with bruises and cuts or any signs of discoloration, spots or mushy areas. It should also not have any rancid smells about them.
They can be stored and will keep fresh in a refrigerator for one to two days.
How to Prepare Okra for Consumption
The pods should be washed in cold running water to remove dirt and soil particles. This also removes pesticide and insecticide residue. The top stem can then be cut off. The pods can be left whole or cut into smaller pieces according to the A recipe is a set of instructions that describe how to prepare a culinary dish and covers the ingredients and method. It consists of the name of the dish, the time it will take to prepare, the individual ingredients and the amounts needed to make the dish. Instructions covering the preparation method, the number of servings the flavor and texture... More instructions.
To cook the pods, one can To boil is to cook food in hot bubbling water or other liquid such as stock, milk, wine or others to soften the food and alter its texture and flavor. Boiling protects food from burning as the liquid prevents the temperatures from rising beyond the liquids boiling point. Cooking food in a liquid such as oil is not considered boiling... More, To steam is to cook food using none other than steam or vaporized boiling water in a food steamer or wok or similar utensil. The food is kept away from the boiling water but not the steam. It is usually used to cook starches and vegetables and rarely is it used with meats unless for medical reasons and individual desires.... More, stew, To fry is the act of cooking food in oil or fat. This is done to achieve a texture and flavor that cannot be achieved using water-based cooking. Oils and fats reach higher temperatures than water at normal atmospheric pressure. This allows fried food to cook at higher temperatures. This method allows food to have crispy textures and distinct flavors... More or stir-fry this vegetable. They can be the star of the vegetable dish or they can be mixed with other ingredients.
Okra goes well with meat, fish, poultry and rice dishes and vegetable stews. In some regions, they can be pickled or made into Soup is a liquid that can be eaten as a complete food. It can either be thick or clear and can be served hot or cold with accompaniments such as crouton or bread buns. Soup may contain solids such as seafood or meats depending on the type. Clear soups are either bouillon and consommé while thick soups can be thickened... More. Young tender Okra leaves can also be eaten raw as an ingredient in A salad is a mixture of small to medium pieces of ready to eat ingredients mixed together and topped with a sauce or dressing. They are preferred cold with few exceptions served warm. The dressing is usually sweet and sour in nature or can be salted and spiced. Salad ingredients range widely but most commonly they include vegetables, fruits, cooked... More.
Okra is rich in energy and produces 553 A calorie is a unit of energy used in several fields. It is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at one atmospheric pressure or the pressure at sea level. When relating to food, Calories with capital "C", also known as the food calorie the same energy as 1000... More per 100 grams. It is also rich in carbohydrates, protein, and Better known as cooking fat, it is a macro-nutrient made up of three fatty acid chains and the alcohol glycerol. Fat is the general term used in culinary arts to refer to the fats which are solid at room temperature, for example, shortening and lard. It is differentiated from cooking oil in the oil remains liquid at room temperature. They... More. It is also a great source of dietary Fiber also referred to as dietary fiber or roughage is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants. It comes either soluble in water or insoluble. They are normally resistant to absorption in the human digestive tract. They are found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It helps increase bulk in ingested foods, softens stool and shortens the total time... More and contains no cholesterol.
The pods are a very rich source of mucilage substance. This helps in smooth peristalsis of digested food through the gut and eases constipation. Okra is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
It is rich in the B-complex vitamins including Thiamin, Thiamine or Vitamin B1 helps prevent disorders like beriberi and korsakoff's syndrome and can lead to metabolic coma and death. Yeast, yeast extract, pork, whole grain brown bread and other cereals are good sources of vitamin B1.... More, Pyridoxine is also known as pyridoxol or vitamin B6 and can be gotten from fruit, vegetables, and grains. It helps prevent confusion, ulcerations, conjuctivitis, intertigo and neuropathy among others. Alcoholics and the elderly are usually the demographics that tend to have increased risk of vitamin B6 deficiency.... More and Pantothenic acid is also known as vitamin B5. It is a water soluble vitamin used by animals to synthesize coenzyme-A (CoA), as well as to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Major food sources include dried mushrooms, liver, dried egg yolks and sunflower seeds among others. Pantothenic acid deficiency is extremely rare but symptoms include impaired energy production, irritability, fatigue, and... More. It is also a good source of Folates are also known as Folic acid or vitamin B9 is good for DNA synthesis and is essential for alleviating Anemia and in pregnant women infant neural tube defects. It is a water-soluble vitamin. Folic acid can be found naturally in leafy green vegetables. Steam cooking helps retain more of the vitamin during cooking. You can also get it from... More, Niacin is also known as Nicotinic acid or vitamin B3 and is useful for the prevention of nausea, skin and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches and exhaustion. It is also useful in the regulation of high cholesterol in the system. It an be found mainly in protein foods like liver, chicken, beef, fish, cereal, peanuts and legumes.... More, and Riboflavin is also known as vitamin B2 helps prevent migraines and is good for cellular respiration. It can be found in eggs, milk, meat and green vegetables. Deficiency results in symptoms similar to Pellagra. Others include chapped lips, red tongue, sore throat, inflammation of the mouth and scaly rashes on private parts.... More. In addition, it is a rich source of vitamin E and vitamin K.
As for minerals, Okra is a good source of Potassium. It is a very rich source of Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Selenium and Zinc.