Toast, It's not just for breakfast anymore: Raising Okra

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Raising Okra

Okra is a decidedly southern-American food. But fans of it can be found in Japan, Thailand, and in all of central Africa as well. IMO, it's the most disgusting vegetable known to man. No matter how you cook it, it creates this slime that is best described as 'snot-like'. If you saute it long enough, the slime goes away, but it's still tough to eat. I mean, you know the slime is still there... it's just hidden. If you batter and then deep fry it, it's pretty good. But if you're going to fry it, why not replace the okra with rings of onion, or a potato? They're both much better than the godawful okra.

Anyway, here's how to grow it. Wait until you are getting days that exceed 80 degrees all of the time. That's in mid to late April down here in Boondocks, Lousiana, but it may be as late as June in the northern states. Far northern states like Montana, the Dakotas, Maine, etc might not be able to grow this plant at all. If anyone up there is adventurous enough to try it, please send me an email. I'd love to hear about it.

Plant the seed about a foot apart. It's a slow grower, and needs constant and vigilant weeding for about 60 days. After that, give it a bit of fertilizer one time (I use 8-8-8, mostly because I don't know what it's asking for), and it will produce abundant amounts of those horrid okra pods, continually, until the first frost. But once again, you have to be vigilant. They grow very fast at this point. You've got to cut them off every other day. Otherwise, they turn into inedible fibrous crud that's sort of like a tree limb. Very woody.

That's about how big they should be. 8" is cutting it close. 2" is overkill. Somewhere in between is ideal.

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