05 Jan Okra- Harvest Those Tender Pods!
Okra also is known as lady’s finger and this flowering plant belonging to the mallow family has green coloured seed pods that are edible. Is it Lady’s finger or Ladies finger? Well, Lady’s finger figuratively and literally means finger of a lady. It is also the vernacular name for Okra, mainly because of its resemblance to the finger of a woman.
Mostly cultivated around tropical, sub-tropical and warm-temperate regions, it is a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fibre.With less calories, it is also called the superfood. It also adds the required nutritional value to your dietary intake as its filled with minerals, potassium, magnesium and iron.
If you look at the nutritional value for per 100gm Okra, you will see it contains 7.45gm carbohydrates, 3.2gm dietary fibre, 1.9gm protein, 82mg calcium, 23mg vitamin c, 57 mg magnesium and so on.
How to prepare it?
Okra is not only a good source of vitamins and minerals, but helps to reinforce polymer composites, as well (this however, is not that well-known a fact). It is more popular as a food to eat, in either fried, roasted, just sautéed, steamed, pickled or cooked form. Dishes like stews, salads, soups and so on also find good use for Okra. It goes well with roasted chicken or other dishes.
Indian’s love it sautéed or fried as an excellent accompaniment for steamed rice. I personally would love that with just pickle, and curds added. Other accompaniments that add to its taste include tomato, corn and onion. Okra with egg is a popular cuisine for the India parsi people.
You must take care to wash, cut and clean it properly before cooking. And you can always preserve it better if you freeze it. This apparently helps to protect the nutrients for a longer time. Meanwhile, another name for Okra is Gumbo, which I did not know. That was news to me, at least. Its taste is mild with a unique flavour and is also popular for its health benefits.
Benefits of Okra
It promotes good heart health, will protect your body against cancer and helps to develop strong bones, as well. So now we know why the dietary intake of people suffering from osteoporosis have to include Okra. It also helps to build your immune system. Always make sure the Okra you buy is free from chemicals and fresh. Next, when preparing it, you can cook the whole pods quickly to prevent it from releasing a slimy juice. In the meantime, there could also be some people who enjoy the gummy texture of Okra.
However, did you know that it is used as an alternative to egg white substitute or a thickening agent for a sauce? For this purpose, you would need to use freeze dried okra extract, possibly.
You should also be aware that like any nutritional food, it is good to include in your menu but in moderation. Make sure to also include other varied and different dietary substances alongside to get the best results.
Really mature (take it as old) Okra has another use, that is to make paper and rope. That’s why you need to look for fresh ones to buy. If you by any chance plan to grow it in your garden, make sure to harvest it when its tender and immature. Also harvest it every other day, quite often in fact.