The Milkweed Diaries

Saturday, April 25, 2009

In Praise of Okra

I've been loving the little Burgundy Okra seedlings in the hoophouse since they first sprouted, their dark green leaves looking all wine-stained with red. Now their first true leaves have emerged, a springey yellow-green color that looks amazing with the deep red stems.  

Okra are truly beautiful plants, members of the hibiscus family, and one of my favorite summer garden plants.  I think okra would be worth planting just for the ornamental value even if they didn't bear food. Those tropical leaves! Those voluptuous flowers! That towering height!  

As I've been going through plant orders for our Big Plant Sale coming up May 9, I've noticed very few requests for okra.  The relative lack of interest in okra starts inspired me to post some okra photos from our garden last summer, to draw attention to the beautiful and underappreciated vegetable.  

These pictures really stoke my anticipation of summer this time of year when tiny seedlings are dwarfed by big, empty beds, its nice to remember that in a few months, the garden will be overflowing with wild, abundant plant life.  

So here's to anticipation of summer, and long live okra!


Rain said...

I think that part of the problem with okra is an inability to cook it properly. It's certainly something I've struggled with.

Maybe if/when you have time, you could post some basic guidelines for harvesting and cooking okra?

Milkweed said...

You are totally right, Rain. Right as rain, some might say.

I really like to pickle it in a crock with brine, myself. But there's also the saute-in-butter and add tomatoes, onions, garlic, maybe some summer squash, and hot sauce and serve over rice approach...I'll think about other recipes and put them up as we get into okra season. Thanks for the suggestion!