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How To Grow Okra At Home And Cook It After You Harvest It

How To Grow Okra At Home

Need to learn how to grow okra at home? Well, we’ll teach you in this article. But first, I want to tell you how I first discovered this little vegetable and instantly fell in love with it.

I’m a former Aussie. I moved to the United States and to tell you the truth, I had no idea what Okra was.

The very first time I went to a southern buffet, I spotted a tray with this green veggie in it and it looked at the time, interesting.

I decided to show courage and put some on my plate.

When I got back to my table and tasted it, I was hooked. I discovered Okra and loved it. At that time, it was sauteed but since then, I’ve enjoyed this nutritious vegetable grilled, fried and roasted.

I love it and because you’re here wanting to know how to grow okra at home, you love it too.

How To Grow Okra At Home

So let’s talk about how to grow okra at home.

First thing you need to know is that okra needs warm weather for best growth. It can be grown all year round if your climate allows it. However, most people prefer growing okra during summer months when temperatures are warmer.

Okra grows well in soil rich in organic matter like compost or manure. You should also add plenty of water as they don’t tolerate drought conditions.

How To Cook Okra
What’s your favorite Okra dish?

If you live in an area where there is lots of rain, you won’t have any problem getting enough moisture.

You will notice that okra plants tend to get bigger after flowering. This means that they produce more pods which contain seeds. The plant produces these seedpods throughout its life cycle.

These pods usually dry up by themselves once their job has been done. You can remove them from the stems and get rid of them. They’ve done their job.

If you want to harvest them before they do so, cut off the stem just below the pod.

Then hang them upside down until they start drying out. Once dried, remove the outer skin from each pod using a sharp knife.

Store them in airtight containers away from heat and light. They keep well for several weeks.

If you plan to eat fresh okra, wait till the pods turn yellowish-green before harvesting.

When fully ripe, okra turns brown and loses much of its nutritional value. So make sure you pick only those that look healthy and not overripe.

Now that you know how to grow okra at home, let me share with you one of my favorite ways to prepare them. 

Grilled Okra Recipe

Here are the ingredients for preparing okra that I love the best. This was taught to me within two weeks of being here in the United States.

  • Use half  a pound of okra (you can use more okra but I’m cooking for one person here)
  • Depending on personal oil preference, 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Add salt & pepper to taste although don’t go overboard

Directions:

Wash and pat dry the okra thoroughly. Cut into halves lengthwise. Heat grill pan over medium high heat. Brush both sides of okra pieces with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill 5 minutes per side, turning occasionally. Serve it hot.

I must admit, grilled okra is my favorite. Okra is definitely an acquired taste. To some, it’s a little slimy if not grilled or roasted.

Stir fried pork with okra
Stir frying pork with Okra is delicious!

Personally, I didn’t mind it unfrosted or grilled but the latter is definitely the way you want to cook okra if you have never tasted it before.

Another way I love to eat okra is in stews and soups. Stews are a winter preference and adding okra to them gives you that little extra taste-wise.

In soups, okra in my opinion is perfect. Especially in tomato based soups. For some reason, okra and tomatoes are a match.

They are a taste sensation made in heaven when combined.

Another recipe I found delicious was when okra is added to meat dishes or vice versa.

One in particular with pork really took my fancy. The okra and pork together was another great match.

The other  meat I loved okra with was lamb. Being Aussie, it’s a given I’m going to want lamb with my okra.

If you have any recipes with okra in it feel free to share them with us.

Growing Okra At Home – Final Thoughts

Where does okra come from?

Okra comes from Africa. In fact, it originated in West African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Benin.

Today, okra is widely cultivated across tropical regions including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Central America.

It is believed that okra came to Europe via Spain and Portugal. Since then, many varieties were introduced to other parts of the world.

If you’re a little nervous about growing okra at home then you have a couple of options.

You can buy it at the supermarket. It’s not cheap but if you’re like me, you’ll come up with reasons to buy it.

Or, start small when growing it at home. But a couple of growing pots and fill them with organic soil.

Buy some okra seeds. You’re local garden center should have them otherwise, get them online.

Just make sure they get plenty of sun and you add water regularly.

Yes, it is that simple. This is usually a hardy vegetable and it would take something drastic for you to fail at growing it. Good luck!

JD Dean

Growing up on a farm gave me and my family some huge advantages. One of them was learning to grow our own food. Apart from acres and acres of crops, we had a magnificent fruit and vegetable garden plus, we canned our own food. I’m hoping to pass on some of this expertise and experience to you.

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