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Okra tends to be a popular vegetable in the South. Typically it is prepared fried in order to break down the tough flesh. They are rich sources of dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins; often recommended by nutritionists in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
Okra Planting Tips
Okra plants need to grow in the heat. To jump start on the season, you can start the seeds in transplant pots in a warm moist area such as a greenhouse or simply inside your house. When they get to about 6 inches tall, you can transplant them outside, if it's warm enough. They grow to become very large plants as the season goes on so it is important to space them at least six inches apart. Fruit will grow fast with wet humid climates. You can expect fruit to mature about 4 days after flowering.
Okra Harvesting Tips
Just like the squash family, it is difficult to harvest okra due to the numerous prickles located under the leaves and along the stem. So if you have sensitive skin, it would be a good idea to cover your arms and hands while harvesting. The fruit will grow between the stem and a branch or between two branches. Either way, it is important to be careful while harvesting with a knife. The stem of the fruit is very tough so it is easier to use pruners. Store in cool area.
1 1/2 pounds small-medium okra pods 1 to 2 cups plain white cornmeal 1/3 to 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening Salt, to taste Place 1 to 2 cups plain white cornmeal (not self-rising) in a plastic bag. Drain and discard tip and stem end of okra pod. Slice into 1/4-inch slices directly into the cornmeal. Shake bag often to coat each piece. Melt the shortening in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Test the pan's heat with 1 slice of okra for a sizzle. Fry for 3-5 minutes. Drain well.