Produce of the Week

Produce of the Week: Okra

Okra is a signature Southern ingredient whether fried, pickled, or grilled.

Did you know…

  • Okra is a summer crop. Therefore in North Carolina, we only have a couple more weeks to enjoy fresh from the farm.
  • Okra was first cultivated in southeast Asia, and early in the 19th century it became a staple vegetable on the southern mainland of America.
  • Okra is freshest when the pods are firm and brightly colored.
  • Okra comes in varying shades of green (there is also a new red variety), and can be smooth or have a ribbed surface.
  • Keep okra in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Why it’s so great for us

  • A 100-gram serving of okra contains only 30 calories and zero saturated fats and cholesterol.
  • Vitamin A keeps our eyes working, our immune system strong, and our cells growing.
  • B Vitamins helps our cells grow and stay healthy.
  • Vitamin C keeps our immune system strong and helps our bodies heal quickly.
  • Vitamin K helps our bodies heal quickly.
  • Fiber helps with healthy digestion and keeps us feeling full.  Eating enough fiber has been shown to keep our hearts healthy too.
  • Folate, or folic acid, helps our tissues grow and our cells work.  Especially important for pregnant women.

Tips & Tricks

  • Stovetop: Rinse okra and drain well. Bring a small amount of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the okra and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Drain okra  and season with salt and pepper.
  • Microwave: Put rinsed okra in a microwave-safe dish with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 4-6 minutes or until tender. Drain well and season with salt and pepper.
  • To prevent okra from becoming slimy, you can add vinegar or other acidic ingredients (like tomatoes) while cooking.
  • Okra can be used as a substitute for zucchini in dishes.
  • Okra tastes great in curries, sautés, and soups.