These long and elegant pods, also known as lady’s fingers, are high in vitamins A and C, and they’re not necessarily slimy.
Season: Year-round; peak season is May through October.
How to Choose Okra
Look for young, small pods no more than 4 inches in length (larger pods tend to be tough and stringy). Choose specimens that are firm, unblemished, and bright in color. Green is most common, but you may encounter red or deep burgundy varieties. Pass up any that are limp or bruised. Frozen okra is a ready substitute for fresh, while canned okra is best used in stews.
How to Store Okra
Store unwashed okra in a paper bag in the warmest part of the refrigerator for up to 3 days (overly cold temperatures can speed decay).
How to Prepare Okra
Wash the pods and pat dry. Trim the stems, taking care not to pierce the pods if using whole. For faster cooking, cut pods crosswise into star-shaped cubes.
How to Use Okra
When cooked, okra releases mucilage, a substance that helps it retain water but which many find slimy. Minimize the oozing by cooking quickly using dry cooking methods (baking, frying). Okra’s mucilage works to the cook’s advantage as a natural thickener when added to soups and stews, particularly gumbo.
Real Simple Okra Recipes:
Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.
Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.