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Okra: Natural Food


Okra Nutrition Chart
Okra Nutrition Chart
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Okra grows in an elongated, lantern shape vegetable. It is a fuzzy, green colored, and ribbed pod that is approximately 2-7 inches in length. This vegetable is more famously known by its rows of tiny seeds and slimy or sticky texture when cut open. Okra is also known as bamia, bindi, bhindi, lady's finger, and gumbo, is a member of the cotton (Mallow) family.

Okra was discovered around Ethiopia during the 12th century B.C. and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians. This vegetable soon flourished throughout North Africa and the Middle East where the seed pods were consumed cooked and the seeds toasted, ground, and served as a coffee substitute. With the advent of the slave trade, it eventually came to North America and is now commonly grown in the southern United States. You’ll now see okra in African, Middle Eastern, Greek, Turkish, Indian, Caribbean, and South American cuisines.

Okra is commonly associated in Southern, Creole, and Cajun cooking since it was initially introduced into the United States in its southern region. It grows well in the southern United States where there is little frost.

Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients. It is a good source of vitamin C. It is low in calories and is fat-free.

Varieties

Clemson variety is dark green with angular pods. This okra takes less than two months to mature.

Emerald type is dark green, with smooth round pods.

Lee is a spineless type known by its deep bright green, very straight angular pods.

Annie Oakley is a hybrid, spineless kind of okra with bright green, angular pods. It takes less than two months from seeding to maturity.

Chinese Okra is a dark green type grown in California and reaches 10 to 13 inches in length. These extra-long okra pods are sometimes called "ladyfingers."

Purple Okra a rare variety you may see at peak times. There is a version grown for its leaves that resemble sorrel in New Guinea.


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