Okra Is More Than OK
Is it possible to be in love with a vegetable? When it comes to okra, I am! However, this is a new love. I found the slimy texture slightly off-putting at first but soon found that there is nothing to beat okra when cooked well. If you have been hesitant about eating okra, I would advise you to try.
The one problem I face with okra, though, is storing it. When I start harvesting it, I find that I have so much okra, and somehow after a few days, it does not taste as good as fresh ones.
Even after gifting to neighbours, I am left with so much that I learned about storing it. Here are a few tips on how to store okra in the best ways to keep them tasting good for longer.
- Okra Is More Than OK
- What Is So Great About Okra?
- How Best To Cook Okra?
- Why Do You Have To Store Okra Correctly?
- How To Store Okra?
What Is So Great About Okra?
Are you wondering what is unique about okra? Well, its taste for one is fantastic, but what if we told you that it has multiple health benefits as well. Okra is packed with the goodness of nutrition.
The nutrient profile of okra is impressive. One cup or 100 gm of raw okra contains-
- Calories: 33 gm
- Carbs: 7 gm
- Proteins: 2 gm
- Fat: 0 gm
- Fiber: 3 gm, apart from Vitamins A, C, K, B6, Folate, and Magnesium.
2. Contains Antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential to fight the damage caused by free radicals. Okra has polyphenols that may improve heart and brain health.
3. Lower the risk of heart disease
Okra has a thick gel-like substance called mucilage which binds cholesterol and causes it to be excreted with stools. High cholesterol is a major risk factor.
4. May stop cancer cells
A protein called lectin, which is present in okra, can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Research is still being done on this.
5. Lower blood sugar
Healthy blood sugar levels are essential for overall health, and studies have shown that okra can reduce sugar absorption in the digestive tract. However, people taking diabetes medicines should check before taking okra.
How Best To Cook Okra?
Usually, you may find okra in stews and soups like gumbo. This is mainly thanks to mucilage, which is a thick substance and becomes gummy when you heat it. If, like me, you don’t like the slimy okra, then you can try one of the following-
- Cook okra at high heat
- Don’t crowd the skillet, as the reduced heat may cause the sliminess
- Cooking in acidic sauce like tomato paste may reduce the gumminess
- Pickling okra will reduce the sliminess
- Slice and roast in the oven
- Grill it until slightly charred
- Deep fry it
Why Do You Have To Store Okra Correctly?
The thing to remember with okra is that it is perishable and does not last more than 2 or 3 days, even in the refrigerator. It has several nutrients, and if not stored correctly, it may lose its potency quickly.
If okra grows in your garden, you know that even a small number of plants can yield large yields. The plants continue to produce if you continue to harvest.
Knowing how to store them properly will help you enjoy the okras long after the harvesting is done. Buying more okra than you can use at one time will also require you to learn how to store it well.
How To Store Okra?
Store-bought, or homegrown, okra requires careful handling to last longer in the best way. Here are some tips which can help you-
1. When to Pick Okra
Picking okra for harvest at the right time is essential. When the pods are 2 to 3 inches long, it is the ideal time. Don’t wait too long because it can make okra hard and have a woody taste. Only buy the best seeds for planting okra.
2. Storing In the refrigerator
If you plan to use the okra within 3 to 5 days, you can keep it in the refrigerator. Avoid washing or cutting it and merely placing it in a paper bag or wrapping it in a paper towel and then putting it inside a perforated plastic bag. Moisture can be harmful and make the okras go bad fast.
3. Freezing Okra
As we mentioned earlier, okra plants produce heavily, and you may be left holding a considerable amount of okra. If you cannot eat it every single day, you need to store it long-term. Watch this video to learn more
- Wash the okra
- Blanch the okra pods for approximately 3 minutes.
- Remove from the hot water and immediately dunk them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain the ice water and place it in freezer bags.
- These frozen okras can last for up to 9 months
4 Canning Okra
Canning is another way to prolong the life of okras. It may take some freshness away, but canning can make it easier to cook it later.
Canned okras can be used throughout the year and may have a shelf life of more than a year. The canning process is slightly more time-consuming and requires you to follow specific steps.
Once you learn it, though, it may seem easy and will even allow you to can other vegetables.
Okra is a delicious vegetable, which is easy to grow and offers abundant yields. Unfortunately, okras are more delicate than they appear.
They perish quickly and, within 4 to 6 days, may lose their freshness, taste, and even nutrients. Okras are best when at the peak of their freshness, but it is not always possible to eat fresh okra. This is why it is so important to learn how to store okra in the best way possible.
If you find the information useful feel free to share it with other people facing a similar problem. Contact us if you need more information, and we would be happy to help you.
Okras are full of so many health benefits apart from being tasty, and you must use them as often as possible.