by0| PUBLISHED Jun 8, 2010 8:00 AM
Todd Coleman

A Southern favorite for more than a century, these unusual green pods originated in Africa. Known for its gelatinous juices, the okra plant is revered as a thickening agent, and for that reason the pods are a key ingredient in Creole gumbos. Okra is also delicious sliced and sauteed with other vegetables (corn and tomatoes alongside okra make a tasty side dish), added to rice, pickled and jarred, or deep-fried until golden brown and served as a crunchy accompaniment to any meal.

Featured Okra Recipes


  • To reduce sliminess, cook okra quickly over high heat, or stew it to maximize the thickening power of its juices.
  • Look for okra that's bright green, firm, and covered with a fine layer of white fuzz.
  • Wash in cold water before use.

Where to Buy

Okra is available year-round at gourmet food stores, though prices spike in the winter and early spring. Look for okra at your local farmers' market during the summer months, or visit www.melissas.com.