Okra is a medicinal vegetable with mucilagenous properties to nurture the gut
Okra is a delicious vegetable that originated in Eritrea in Ethiopia and parts of the Sudan, Mali and Burkina Faso. It spread further north in Africa, and across to India very early.
Growing this plant is easy. An annual bush growing to two metres it has pale yellow small hibiscus like flowers and green pods. Once they form they grow rapidly and better picked when they are soft and pliable. African slaves carried the seeds to America with them. They are a favourite in the Southern States of America where they are known as Gumbo.
Plant direct in Spring. This vegetable needs a long growing season. Space them about .75 metre apart. About ten plants will supply a bounty for a family for months.
There are many different varieties and will cross pollinate by insect activity, so if you have a favourite strain be sure to separate it by thirty metres at least from your other varieties.
When harvesting okra if the top of the vegetable can snap off easily it is ready to pick. You must check them every day as they ripen very quickly. If you leave it too long, it should be left for seed. Harvest the seed when the pods are brown and dry and the seeds rattle inside. They will remain viable for three years if you season is dry, less if it is damp. Store in a cool dark place.
Cook it very quickly in stirfry or for a long time in stews or soups. There is no medium cooking time with this vegetable. It is a favourite in Rasta Ital Cooking.
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