The okra plants were flourishing at the Veggie-Bed as the hot weather continued. They were producing a beautiful flower much like their cousin in the mallow family, the hibiscus. The okra pod is delicious when eaten right off the plant or battered and fried.
“Emerald Okra is an early-harvest variety actually developed by the Campbell Soup Co. Tall plants bear round, smooth, deep-green pods that you can actually let grow all the way to 8 inches, and they will still be tender enough for gumbos or soups. For stir-fry or pan-fry, the pods should be harvested before they get that long” (plantationproducts.com) .
“As more gardeners discover that they really like okra, the range of this warm-natured hibiscus cousin is steadily edging northward. The early growth of okra is often slow, but the plants grow much faster once summer starts sizzling. As the plants grow, they begin producing yellow blossoms followed by tender pods. Warm weather helps pods grow quickly, so check plants every day once they start producing. A pod can grow from nothing to full size in 2 or 3 days. Pods first appear at the base of the plant up so that by the end of the season you could be on your tiptoes to harvest” (bonnieplants.com) .
“Ripe okra should feel tender to the touch. Wear gloves and long sleeves when feeling and harvesting the okra, as its small hairs are often irritating to the skin. Measure the okra, okra should be picked when it is 2 to 3 inches long” (answers.com) .
“The health benefits of okra include its ability to improve digestive health and vision, boost skin health, protect infant health, prevent certain cancers, and strengthen bones. It also improves cardiovascular health, balances cholesterol levels , aids the immune system, lowers blood pressure , and protects heart health” (organicfacts.net) .
Writer: Tom Myrick