Okra is a vegetable from the cotton family and both the seeds and pods have been consumed for centuries. It is believed to have originated close to Ethiopia and cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, before its cultivation and consumption spread through to the Middle East, Greece, Cyprus and the Americas. Apart from Greece, no other European country consumes Okra as part of their diet.
Okra is also known as lady fingers due to their thin, finger like pod structures. It is an amazing source of soluble and insoluble fibre and due to this, it’s great for improving our gut function and regulating our bowel motions. Apart from being a great source of Calcium, Okra also provides an adequate amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, per cup.
The actual flavour of Okra can be quite bland until it is sautéed with onion and garlic. It contains a plant chemical called, mucilage, and it is this mucilaginous property that contributes to Okra’s slimy and sticky texture. It is a great and nutritious way to thicken up stews and soups.
The best Okra pods to consume are those which are young, tender and firm and easily snap in half and should have a deep rich, green colour. This vegetable is a great addition to any soups, stews, stir fries and casseroles.