I'm real happy with the way my okra is doing this year. I'm trying Cajun Delight this time - the plants are supposed to be shorter and more productive than my usual Clemson Spineless.
I planted according to instructions on the seed pack, one seed every four inches so I only had 1/3 of a 25' row. Conditions must have been just right because every seed sprouted, so about a month ago I thinned them by transplanting - and now I have a whole 25' row.
Not a gardening question but - you Southerners and okra experts, please tell me how you bread and fry your okra. I grew up on fried okra but I'm not the cook, and my wife is a good cook who grew up in Brooklyn so she never learned about frying okra (though we both love the stuff).
My grandma made it best, and as I remember she washed the pods and cut them into 1/2" pieces and laid them on a towel on the counter. She'd put flour, salt, pepper, and maybe a little corn meal in a paper bag, shake it, then take the breaded okra out and fry it. The coating on the okra was real thin, it'd turn golden brown, and you got mostly the flavor of the okra and not the breading.
The problem we''ve had for years is that our okra pieces are slimy and they pick up too much breading - then a lot of it falls off during frying. The final result is that we get so much fried breading we can hardly taste the okra - and that ain't right.
Did grandma maybe let the okra sit out for a while and dry before breading? Did she pat it dry with a towel first?
Please forgive the non-gardening question, but I think I've got a bumper crop of okra coming this season and my wife and I would really like to know how to fix it better. Thanks.
Hey Ozark! Cut and paste your question on the recipes forum. You'll have 10 okra recipes in no time! How long did it take your okra 2 come up? I think I still have time to sow a few seeds. We've got about 60 more days of scorching heat ahead of us, so I'm remaining hopeful. I'm a container veggies grower. How deep do the okra roots Grow? I have 5-gallon eBuckets & growbags, & 24" planters. Which would be best? I only need enough okra 2 freeze for 2 people. Thanks!
Ozark, usually sliminess comes with bruising or let the pods sit around too long. Never had fresh okra get slimy. I like to dip in beaten egg, then dredge in corn meal and fry. Salt to taste of course.
Gymgirl - You've still got time to plant okra. I think my seeds sprouted in only 4 or 5 days. It likes heat, so yours will grow faster now than mine did back in the spring.
I planted okra the first week of May, but it came up and just sat there 2" tall while we had several weeks of cool temps, clouds, and rain. Now we're getting 90 degree sunny days and it's really taking off. If you plant now, I bet it'll grow with no delays.
Thanks for the tip about keeping it fresh, Farmerdill. I checked with my wife, and she's usually been keeping okra in the 'fridge for a day or two before frying, so we'll change that. I'm also going to post the cooking question on the recipes forum, as Gymgirl suggested.
OZARK, try some compleate pancake mix 2/3 to corn meal with salt and pepper. That gives a little fluff with the grit.Pan frying or deep frying be gental with them or you can beat the coating off. Tender loving care in the garden, same at the cook stove! Good luck. :)
I have about 8 okra plants producing right now, giving us about 16 pods a week. We love it with fried potatoes. It is doing so well that when the onions didn't do well, I planted another row of okra in stead. It is now about 20 inches tall, and will also be producing soon. I am giving some to my co-workers, and they are loving it! This is my first garden in the valley. I was in Kingman before, so hi to my neighbor, MissJestr. It sure is a trip when it is a great success!
Ozark do you have little okras on yours yet ? cuz mine do and they are little bitty things ?
how is the heat going in your area
we are hitting the 90 today so they should be shooting up good ...I hope LOL
"Ozark do you have little okras on yours yet ?"
Nope, I haven't even had a bloom yet - lots of little buds at the top of each plant, though.
I've always thought okra has the prettiest bloom, though the blooms only last for a day. Because of this question I posted I read up on okra and found it originated in Africa, actually around Somalia and Ethiopia - so no wonder it likes heat.
I also found that it's a type of hibiscus. Well, that explains why those pretty blooms look so familiar to me.
I'm going to be more diligent about picking it this year, every other day at least. In the past I've had a tendency to let it go, and then get some 8" woody pods that have to be thrown away. 2" to 3" pods are about right for picking, but it's amazing how fast they grow once they set on.
MN_brown, thanks for the tip about drying. We'll do that.
taynors - No, those are okra pods. The big blooms just last for a short time, and those have already bloomed and set on. They'll keep blooming and setting on pods continuously. Be sure and pick the pods when they're no more than 4" long, it's amazing how fast they grow from the stage where you're at now.
Looks like you've got one of the burgundy varieties of okra. I've grown some of those, and they're good.
Maybe I will try a couple plants, we have heat through October typically, Although we just got off of 2-3 weeks of unusually cool (for us) low 70's. Have not liked okra when I have tried it in the past due to the slime thing. In our family of 3 I am pretty much the only one who enjoys veggies - home grown or store bought - even though I make DH & DD eat them. Growing all in containers this year as an anti gopher solution. Ozark and the rest, what size pots (diameter x depth) do you think I will need?
guiltygirl - I've never grown okra in pots, but from pulling up the old plants in the fall I know it doesn't have a very big root system. I'd guess you could grow one plant in a one-gallon pot, maybe. In a bigger pot you could have two plants, as okra is spaced 10"-12" apart in the garden.
I sowed okra seeds Monday night in Bocabob's seed-starter tray, and I had 20 seedlings yesterday evening when I got home!
My question regards moving them to my eBuckets. I need to transplant them after the second set of leaves, still, right? I think I'm gonna set the tray outside in the shade to move them along a little faster (which would be lightening speed at the rate they're growing!)
My 25' row of okra is really growing now in our hot weather. I had to remove the string between posts because the plants were growing into it.
I've never grown Cajun Delight okra before, but the reviews on it are good. It's supposed to be a shorter variety than most, and that'll be good. I usually have to provide some support for okra plants, and maybe I won't with this one.
Here it is as of today, between the cukes and the bush beans.
Ozark, is the okra the row in the middle? Do the leaves have natural holes or do you have a hungry critter? I wish more seed packets had pictures of the actual plant/leaves, so we can if the right thing is coming up and not some weed, or if we got our labels mixed up...
"Ozark, is the okra the row in the middle? Do the leaves have natural holes or do you have a hungry critter?"
Yes, okra is the row in the middle. The plants are about 2' tall now and bushy. I think I like that better than the Clemson Spineless okra I've usually grown in the past, because those would be 4' tall by now but don't have many leaves.
The holes aren't built in. I had an early bout with flea beetles when the plants were small and a few of the leaves got holes chewed in them before I nuked the beetles. They didn't have a chance to do any serious damage.
Ortho Spectracide concentrate, one tablespoon to a gallon of water.
I really like that one. The active ingredient is 3% pyrethrin, which is a natural insecticide refined from chrysanthemum roots.
The mixture is lethal to all insects that it touches while it's wet, and I wait until late afternoon to spray so I don't kill any honeybees. You've got to hit the bugs with it while it's wet, because it oxidizes and becomes harmless when it's dry. There's no lingering poison, and even same-day harvesting of vegetables is OK with pyrethrin - it's real good stuff.
My son-in-law is doing some raised bed gardening. Got two 4x8 beds. He is starting to get a little stuff now and is excited as a calf looking at a new rope. Think he is hooked. Never gardened before. We were there the last of May for our grandson's graduation, didn't realize how far behind your growing season is to ours.
The best way to fry okra is to wash and DRY it very well before any cutting begins. The drying of the pods is th most important step. Then either cut into 1/2" rounds or, if the pods are smallish, leave whole. NOW dip into flour - this gives a very light coating but enough to get the crisp happening. Hope this is what you were looking for. I am from New Orleans and watched my mom do this often.
I grew okra for 2 years and then had to quit and wait a while. The plants grew to my head and I'm 5'2". I had so much okra I froze bags and bags of it and gave away a lot. Maybe this summer I'll plant some more.
Thanks for the booking hints. I love it mealed and fried. I'm a converted New Englander.
Old time frying cooks saved the potatoes to fry last because the potatoes helped clean the frying oil- i like to use masa harina, salt and seasonings to shake onto okra in a ziploc, then lay out til i was ready to fry.