Okra Time

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Okra is the big easy veggie for southern gardeners. I direct seeded in June when the soil was warm. Its a heavy feeder so I worked in some alfalfa pellets into the bed. Okra quickly gets leafy and tall enough to shade out weeds. The plants these came from are 5 to 6 feet tall. Both the red and green variety are from seed I saved from last year. The green is the popular Clemson Spineless variety. The red is some variety that my sister-in-law gave my father-in-law who shared with me.

The 2 inches of rain we got here the last 2 days will help the fungal diseases finish off my tomatoes, beans, cantaloupe and cucumbers. But the okra is just getting started. The cooler than normal temperature this week (low 80’s) means I can wait two days before picking again. Some people harvest their patch daily in our normal 90 degree August days.

The traditional preparation for okra is to bread and fry it. For flavor its hard to beat the fried okra. Healthier uses are in gumbo or other soups, grilling or oven roasting. Our family favorite use is an oven roasted vegetable mix:

Recipe – Roasted Okra

2 cups chopped okra

2/3 cup chopped peppers – choose any variety that appeals to your desired heat level from sweet to jalepeno

1/3 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons flour – or gluten free

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Seasoning – again choose what appeals – cajun, Italian, garam masala, salt n pepper, herbs de provence

Options – add mushrooms or something else from the garden

Preheat oven to 400 before chopping. Toss everything in a bowl till mixed. Spread a single layer in a 9×13 baking dish. Bake 20 minutes, stir, bake about 10 more minutes till lightly browned.

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