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Cooking Okra

In Season: Okra

Today at the farmers market, the okra looked so fresh that I simply had to buy some. Right now is the perfect time to purchase a seasonal ingredient like okra, which is only available through early November. The folks at Padao Farms, the stand where I got the beloved green pods, gave me a few tips for picking the vegetable. Keep reading to get pointers for selecting okra.

  • When choosing okra, find the size that best accommodates your culinary needs (my personal preference is a medium size), but avoid the very largest okra, which are tough.
  • Firmness indicates the okra was recently picked. A good test: wrap your fingers around the okra and use your thumb to test the strength of the vegetable's tip. If it seems like it could snap, then it's firm and fresh. Eschew limp selections that don't pass the test.
  • Store okra in a loose bag in the refrigerator and use within two to three days.

Okra tastes great when breaded and baked or fried, as a replacement for zucchini in ratatouille, or in a late-Summer skillet stir-fry. You can even toss raw okra into a salad with a light vinaigrette. What are your favorite uses for okra?

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