Okra is a seed pod that comes from the plant known as Abelmoschus esulentus. Also known as ladyfingers because of the slender, long, and finger shape resemblance.
Okra is best grown in humid, hot areas such as Mexico, Benin, Egypt, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
It can also be found in Florida, although not as common as the other areas.
Okra is vital in Indian, Southern, and Caribbean cuisines like stews and gumbo.
Okra is one of those foods that you are either going to like or completely hate. There is no in-between.
Most people who don’t like it will say it is because of the slime that erupts when cooking, whereas other people will say they love it for that reason.
What does okra really taste like? Let’s find out!
What Does Okra Taste Like?
Okra has a grassy flavor that is often described as sweet. The flavor will get stronger the longer you cook it. Okra has a taste all of its own and doesn’t taste like any other vegetable or fruit. Some people put okra in the category with leafy greens for the taste alongside green beans and asparagus. When it is cooked, it can resemble zucchini and eggplant, although it doesn’t taste similar. If you slow cook or roast your okra, you are going to get a creamier taste. Okra is rather mild and doesn’t contain strong flavor tones.
Ways To Cook With Okra
Okra is a common ingredient used in stews and soups. It has a slimy substance that will get thicker when heated, making it a great way to thicken soups and stews.
In the Caribbean, okra is preferred either deep-fried or breaded, whereas, in other places, it is common to see it pickled in jars which is a great way to cut back on the slimy texture.
Okra must be rinsed and patted dry before you start slicing and dicing. There is no right or wrong way to slice okra, and you will find that it will vary from place to place.
Many prefer to cut okra diagonally or sliced into rounds, whereas others like it to be sliced lengthways. You can always just leave it whole if you prefer.
There are many methods that are known to reduce the quotient of slime when cooking with okra. A few cooks will cook it at a very high heat like sautéing or grilling.
Some cooks will soak it in vinegar for a while before cooking, but it must be thoroughly dry afterward when using the vinegar method.
What Health Benefits Does Okra Have?
If you try to avoid okra due to the resemblance of fingers or maybe because you don’t like slimy textures, there is another reason to eat it! Did you know it has many health benefits?
Okra is low in calories and very high in fiber, vitamin K, A, and C, along with antioxidants like lutein, xanthin, and beta-carotene.
Okra is also rich in many B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
Ways To Eat Okra For A Full Flavor Experience
Okra can be eaten either cooked or raw like so many other vegetables. The way to eat it is based on your personal liking.
Okra can be added to salads by sautéing it and adding some dressing that contains a little zing to it. If you love fried foods, you can deep fry, shallow fry, or pan fry okra.
Although frying will take out some of the health benefits, it is still healthier than fried mars bars or hot chips.
You might like to pickle okra which can be done quickly via the refrigerator method, or you can go ahead and pickle okra the good old-fashioned, traditional canning way.
If you are struggling with the flavor of okra but would still like to add it to your diet, then consider sautéing it with garlic and salt.
And adding some seafood or tomatoes with a strong flavor to help enhance the flavor of the okra.
How To Buy The Best Okra?
You want to find the freshest okra, which should feel quite firm but not overly hard. You want to see unblemished skin with bright green pods.
If you can see a little browning on the stems, this is ok although it can mean it isn’t the freshest okra in the selection.
You might need to shop around as many grocers don’t stock okra fresh due to the lack of popularity.
It is best to start looking for okra in the month of May through to September, which is mostly when it is in season.
Even if you think okra is not for you, give it a try with different foods and sauces. You might find the perfect flavor combination for your okra and find that you really start to enjoy eating it.
Look at some recipe books, such as the easy okra cookbook, where you can find some inspiration to try some unique dishes that might just surprise you.
If you are already eating healthy, adding okra can help you to feel more energetic, keep your digestion flowing, and aid in glowing skin and preventing diseases.
These are just a few reasons to try okra. The best advice when it comes to okra is to accept the slime and embrace it into your cooking.
Read our article about how to tell if Okra is bad next.
Frequently Questions About How Okra Tastes Like
Can You Freeze Okra?
You want to cook the okra first; while it is possible to freeze it uncooked, it can lose its flavor texture and become extra slimy. You can freeze the cooked okra by placing it on parchment paper and pop it into your freezer until frozen. Once they are completely solid, you can place them into freezer bags and place them back into your freezer.
How Long Will Okra Last In The Fridge?
Placing unwashed completely dry okra into the crisper part of your refrigerator once it is loosely wrapped in a punctured bag will give you 2 to 3 days before the okra goes bad. If you place okra in the fridge wet, it will become slimy and grow mold within 2 days.