Friday, July 3, 2009

Okraziness - I need advice!

As I mentioned on Garden Blogger's Death Day, the only thing that's flourishing in my garden right now is the okra. And not all the okra plants - only three have grown to the point of producing okra. The others are stuck in a point of bizarre stasis depending on the point of growth they were when the flooding came. Some have been two inches tall for a month - others are about eight inches tall.


But the three okra plants that are producing just keep on trucking. They're definitely small plants with severely stunted growth, but that doesn't seem to stop them from sprouting new okra every few days.


But I'm very confused as to what to do with the okra.

One of the problems is that I keep forgetting to pick them and I've got a few that are four to five inches long. I think I'm supposed to pick them when they're around two to three inches long and anything over about four inches is not good to eat. Is this right? Should I throw away anything over three inches?

I've also read that okra only last in the fridge for about a day or two. Well what on earth do you do when you get about one every other day? Do you really cook up one little green okra? I'll admit that every okra I've pulled off so far has gone to waste because I don't know what to do with them. They're in a bag in the fridge, but I assume I should throw them away since I keep reading about this "1-2 days in the fridge" rule about okra. I've only ever eaten okra in a gumbo at a restaurant and never actually cooked it myself. I figured that I'd discover a use for okra once I had a fridgeful from rows of producing plants, but since I'm only getting one or two at a time, I'm at a loss!

HELP!

And when I'm photographing things, I need you to know that at least 75% of the photos look exactly like this:


Even that nice shot of the three okra up there started out with a black nose on the side before I cropped it.


It's a lot of work pretending that I can take good photos.

(Edited to add additional information about okra that I just discovered:)

Gumbo is Swahili for okra. The recent upsurge in the popularity of gumbo has also brought renewed attention to okra. Okra was brought to the new world by African slaves during the slave trade.

The pods must be harvested when they are very young. Preferably two inches long although three inch pods can also be salvaged. Harvest daily as the pods go quickly from tender to tough with increased size.

Refrigerate unwashed, dry okra pods in the vegetable crisper, loosely wrapped in perforated plastic bags. Wet pods will quickly mold and become slimy. Okra will keep for only two or three days. When the ridges and tips of the pod start to turn dark, use it or lose it. Once it starts to darken, okra will quickly deteriorate.


After reading this I've determined that a) my large pods need to be composted and b) the pods that have been in the fridge for more than 3 days need to be composted. But I still don't know what I can do to save the couple of appropriately-sized pods in the fridge. Hmm...

20 comments:

Ribbit said...

My okra is the only thing enjoying the weather as well. Wish I could offer you more advice, but this is our first time with okra as well. I've been breadding them and pan frying them as I get them, then freezing that, but you're right. I only get 2-3 useable ones at any given time. Not much to do anything with.

Kate and Crew said...

Cheryl at http://cherylsgardengoodies.wordpress.com/ left me some advice on GBDD... "If you don't want to throw the okra away, you could try putting the pods in the freezer and collecting enough to go into some nice vegetable soup."

I'm wondering if that means to freeze them RAW? And do I still get rid of any big ones? And do I toss the ones that have been in the fridge more than a day? I like to use the crock pot, so if the big ones are cooked awhile will they be any good?

GAH! I'm okra-lost.

Dani said...

Sorry Kate, but I'm clueless when it comes to okra. Maybe next summer I'll try my hand at it.

Blogger must have ate my comment from yesterday. Just wanted to say how cute your little one was holding Clementine.

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Daphne said...

I wish I could help you, but as a northerner I've never grown okra, much less used it. The only recipe that I've seen it in is for gumbo. I hope you find an answer.

Tenessa said...

I have a lone okra plant also, but it's not producing yet lol. Here are some instructions on freezing okra, I plan on doing this with mine when/if I get any HTH :)

Tenessa said...

woops I think I forgot to put in the link!
http://www.pickyourown.org/okra_freezing.htm

Kate and Crew said...

Tenessa - that's a GREAT link!! I think that solves my what to do with them problem!!

WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!

mommy2cjn said...

Kate, you could always eat it raw, right off the plant. They are oh so yummy!! My dad has some okra plants, and I had my fill while I was in Phx for 2 weeks. :)

Kate and Crew said...

mommy2cjn - RAW? Really? off the plant? that sounds insane!!!! I'm new to okra, but they just scream "please cook me" to me - LOL.

Annie's Granny said...

I glanced at this and wondered why Kate was blogging about "Ozarkness".

I know nothing about okra....except that I really don't like it. A good friend of mine says it is great when breaded or battered and deep fried, but I tasted that once and wasn't impressed.

Momma_S said...

We're in the exact same boat... I have 3 stunted okra's that are producing well, and I can pick 1-2 off ever other day. I've been slicing them then throwing in a ziploc in the freezer w/o blanching. I figure that would be ok since they won't be in there for *too* long. When I have enough, I'll either bread and pan fry like my grandma would do (cornemal, flour, seasoning and egg), or make gumbo if I get enough.

Since I have limited garden space, it almost doesn't seem worth growing okra unless there are enough plants to produce enough at one time...

Kate and Crew said...

Granny - do you like it in gumbo? That's been my only okra experience so far. I grew it because 1) I heard it's about the only thing easy to grow in a FL summer and 2) I am trying very hard to branch out into new things!

Sue said...

I haven't grown okra for awhile, but I remember having a few at a time, and not getting them picked while small. One thing I did, was put cut up or sliced onions, whatever kind of summer squash I have, okra, peppers, and any other fresh veggie I had, including chopped tomatoes in a small amount of olive or canola oil, kind of in that order. After the veggies are crisp/tender, I sometimes added a few eggs and cooked it all together. I also topped it all with shredded cheese, and sometimes a dollop of sour cream. I use reduced fat nowadays.

When will you start getting eggs from your chickens?

Pink & Green Mama said...

My dad always sliced them up and breaded them and fried them -- they were delicious!!

Tessa at Blunders with Shoots, Blossoms 'n Roots said...

Have you tried putting them in those green bags? I tried those last summer when my mom gave me some blueberries and I was shocked at how much longer they kept. This year I decided to buy some of my own green bags and really give them a good try. I am happy to report that they are working very well. My home grown lettuce already lasted much longer than store bought, but with the bags it is lasting even longer.

Sure is a beautiful flower on the okra! Happy gardening.

hidinginmygarden said...

I have never had okra, so I have no advice for you. You may be the worlds number one okra composter?

donna said...

Don't think I'll be growing any okra up here any time soon, but it sure was fun reading this post. Is that flower from the okra plant? Might be worth growing just for the beautiful flower. I bet you could sell your okra to Campbell's Soup for their Chicken Gumbo, one of the ingredients is okra. Now I'm just being silly.

Matron said...

I just LOVE this post! I particularly love the noses in the corner of the pictures. You stand a great chance of winning an award in my online veggie show if you submit a photo of your okra with a nose in the corner! I love dogs as much as I love growing veggies!

Erin said...

Personally, don't know anything about okra...but I happened to catch "Barbeque University" on TV the other day and the guy said if you put them on the BBQ whole, not sliced, they won't get the usual slimy-ness associated with okra!

Investment said...

I've been keeping okra for up to two weeks without any problems. Some cooking ideas:
+ Grill: just like you would with sweet pepper, zucchini, etc
+ Chop them up along with chopped tomatoes, onion. Break in a couple eggs and sprinkle some hot chili powder on.
+ Cut in halves. Slice zucchini, tomatoes and onions. Stir fry with canned tuna or sardines.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin