Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!
Nutritional and Other Information
About Okra




Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Okra is more popular in the southern part of the United States, and is available year-round there. Fresh, it is usually available in the rest of the country from May to October. It is also available canned and frozen. Okra is best known for its use in southern gumbos, where it is used for flavor and thickening.

Okra has a unique mucilaginous juice which is responsible for its thickening power in the Louisiana dish called gumbo. Okra compliments tomatoes, onions and corn, shellfish and fish stock.

Okra is full of valuable nutrients. Nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. The other half is insoluble fiber which helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy, decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid are also present in a half cup of cooked okra.

Okra leaves are tender and mild to eat. They make a nice addition to salad, and when cooked, give a slight okra flavor. Okra seeds have been dried and used for a coffee substitute.

Selecting a quality product

Choose pods that are brightly colored and do not have blackened spots on them. Some varieties stay tender even at a large size but most okra is better when no longer than 5-6". Okra can be either green or red/purple.

Tips on Storage

Refrigerate unwashed, dry okra pods in the vegetable crisper, loosely wrapped in perforated plastic bags. Wet pods will quickly mold and become slimy so do not wash before storing. Okra will keep for only two or three days. When the ridges and tips of the pod start to turn dark, use it or lose it. Once it starts to darken, okra will go bad quickly.

Tips on cooking

Okra can be eaten raw but can be prepared in many ways, fried, stewed, braised, or baked. It can be cooked whole or cut in slices. It can also be pickled. Another favorite way of eating okra in the south is to lay whole pods on top of a pot of beans as they cook.




Recipes

Okra Rellenos

4 oz monterey jack cheese with peppers
1 lb fresh okra
1 cup self-rising flour
1/3 cup self-rising cornmeal
1 lg egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup dark beer
Corn oil
1/2 tsp salt
Makes 2 dozen

Cut cheese into 3 1/4-by- 1/4-inch sticks. Cut a lengthwise slit in each okra pod, cutting to but not through ends; push seeds aside. Stuff pods with cheese sticks. Combine flour and cornmeal in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine egg, buttermilk and beer; add to dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. Pour oil to depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375 degrees. Dip stuffed okra in batter, coating well; fry, a few at a time, until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt; serve with salsa, or eat plain.




Kottopoula Me Mpamiez - Chicken With Okra

Yield: 8 Servings

3 lb cut-up chicken parts (fryer)
Salt & peper to taste
3 lb fresh okra
1/2 cup vinegar
3/4 cup butter
1 med onion, chopped
1 1/2 lb tomatoes, peeled, strained
2 cups water

Wash the chickens. (If they are whole, cut into serving pcs.). Season lightly with salt & pepper, and set them aside to drain. Wash the okra. Remove the stems carefully, without cutting the okra. Line them up in a large flat pan and sprinkle with the vinegar; place in the sun for 30 min to 1 hour.

Brown the butter in a pot, add the chicken, and saute until brown, then add the onion and let it brown. Add the tomatoes and boil for 3 to 5 min. Add water. Simmer for 30 min. Add okra and continue to simmer, covered, until tender. Watch carefully as this may need a little more water. The okra will have absorbed the liquid and only the oil should remain when the dish is cooked.




Tomato Beef And Okra

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
1 lg garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 dash pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp fine dry bread crumbs
1 pk (10oz) frozen whole okra, cooked, drained
Butter
Lemon slices (garnish)

1. Brown beef in skillet; add onion and garlic and cook until tender, stirring to seperate meat. Pour off fat.

2. Add tomato sauce, pepper, egg, and bread crumbs; bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Arrange okra around buttered 1-quart casserole with tips toward center and ends along the outside; spoon tomato mixture over okra.

5. Bake in preheated 375F oven for 30 minutes, or until set; let stand 10 minutes.

6. Invert on serving platter; garnish with lemon slices.




Chicken & Okra Gumbo

Yield: 1 Gallon +

1 cup oil
1 cup flour
1 chicken, cut up, about four pounds
2 lb okra, cut up
2 med tomatoes, chopped
2 lg onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp parsley, chopped
2 tsp green onion tops, chopped
Salt
Black pepper

Brown the chicken in the oil. Take the chicken out. Add the flour to the oil and make a medium brown roux. Add the onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, and okra and cook slowly until the okra stops roping, maybe an hour. Add 3 quarts of water, slowly. Add the chicken. Cook slowly until the chicken is almost ready to fall off the bones, maybe an hour and a half. Add water as needed. Salt and pepper to taste. Add parsley and onion tops and serve over rice.




Southern Fried Okra

1 lb okra, cut 1 inch pieces
1 lg green tomato, diced
1 md onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (opt)
1 jalapeno pepper halved & sliced (opt)
2 eggs beaten
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Combine okra, tomato, onion, garlic & jalapeno in large bowl. In separate bowl combine eggs, salt, pepper, milk. Pour egg mix over veggies and toss to thoroughly coat. Gradually add cornmeal until mixture on the veggies and at the bottom of the bowl is soaked up. Continue to toss till ingredients are evenly mixed. Mixture will have a gooey consistency. Heat oil in 10 inch skillet over med. heat until hot. Oil is ready when dash of cornmeal sizzles. Spoon mixture evenly in skillet. Reduce heat to med low. Cover and fry till underside golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Then invert on plate and slide otherside up into skillet and cook uncovered 5-8 min until golden brown. Remove from skillet to paper towels to drain excess oil. Serve hot.




Okra and Tomatoes

8 slices smoked bacon - thick slices
1 md onion, chopped
1 lb okra, trimmed
5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and quartered -
     OR 1 can tomatoes, quartered, with their juice
Fresh hot pepper or cayenne pepper to taste
Chicken stock
Chopped fresh herbs of your choice for garnish

Cook the bacon in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it is uniformly crisp. Remove from the skillet and set aside to drain. Add the onion to the bacon grease and cook until the onion begins to become transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the okra and continue cooking until the okra begins to glisten with moisture. Add the tomatoes and pepper and lower the heat. Simmer, uncovered, until the okra and tomatoes are stewed evenly, stirring occasionally and adding wine or stock to the pan if necessary to keep the mixture soupy. Serve over white rice steamed in chicken stock and garnish with fresh herb of your choice and the reserved bacon, crumbled. Serves 6-8




Lady's Fingers Okra

6 servings

3 cups fresh whole okra
1/4 cup tomato, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger root, finely chopped
1/4 cup vinegar

Cook okra in small amount of water until tender but not mushy (about 5 to 10 minutes). Drain. Arrange in single layer in glass dish (do not use a metal dish or container). Pour vinegar over the okra marinate in refrigerator 3 hours, Drain; discard vinegar. Arrange okra in serving dish. Garnish with chopped tomatoes, onions, and ginger root. Serve chilled.

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