Seed pods are also called "Lady's fingers".

Pods about ready to harvest.

Well, although some websites suggest that, we don’t know. But, now that you are reading, keep on to learn the verified benefits of this unusual fruit eaten most often as a vegetable. One thing is for sure, it LOVES heat!




Okra is delicious.

Eaten raw just off the plant or carried into the house to mix with steamed or sauteed vegetables we enjoy it. A late summer joy is bringing a bowl of okra pods into the kitchen along with tomatoes, string beans, and chard. Too few backyard gardeners grow okra and most people, at least in northern states, rarely eat it.

Broad Okra leaves.

Botanically, Okra is a fruit.

Okra originated in Africa and loves rich soil and hot weather. It’s a tall plant that produces gorgeous blooms that quickly become slender pods. We pick the pods when they’re just a few inches long and often cut them in sections, dip the pieces in egg and cornmeal and lightly fry them. Yummy.

Nutritional Value

Bowl of gumbo

Mucilage helps make gumbo gumbo!

Okra is high in fiber, folate, antioxidants, Vitamins A and C. The “slime” many associate with okra is actually mucilage which is helpful in digestion. And, it is the “slime” that makes gumbo, gumbo!



Okra pods grow at an astonishing rate. If we forget to pick them for a few days they grow to six or eight inches long and are woody and inedible. Pick ‘em young and small.

Cookbooks featuring southern cuisine offer many recipes for this vegetable popular south of the Mason-Dixon line but too often ignored up north.

Preserving for the Next Season

Every late summer we let a few pods grow to full size. About the first frost we clip them off, let them thoroughly dry, and remove the seeds for planting next spring.