How to cook large okra (+5 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “how to cook large okra” and discuss some ways to tenderize it and cook.

How to cook large okra

To cook large okra you can either bake it, cook it in a stew, deep fry, pickle it to get rid of its woody structure and tenderize it. 

Cooking it in a stew

Chop the large okra into small pieces and cook it in a stew or a soup to soften it. The heat and liquid nature of stew will tenderize the okra and it will be ready for consumption.

Bake it 

Another way to cook large okra is to bake it. One way to deal with it is to slit the okra in the middle and stuff it with meat mixed with spices and bake it at 375°F. Baking the okra will tenderize it and you will have a tasty meal ready. 

Fry it

If you are craving a meal that is crispy and you have large okras, then fry it. Heat some oil and add okras chopped into small pieces. Once the okras turn into a light brown color switch the flame off and strain the okras out of the oil. To these fried okras add some salt, red chili, a little pepper and eat it with a flatbread. 

Pickled okra

Another way to consume the large okra is to make a pickle. The pickling process will tenderize the okra in a few days because pickles conventionally have high salt content. Pickled okra can be consumed along with a burger, hotdog, etc.

Okra seeds as food

If the large okra has a very woody hard texture then it is best to use only its seeds. You can slice them open and remove all the seeds from the okra and you can bake, boil or make a paste out of the seeds, add some salt, spices and they are ready to be served. 

Using large okra seeds for planting

If you love okra and have some space in your backyard you can grow them at your home. Slit the large okra, remove the seeds and let them dry for a few days, and store it in an airtight container until the okra plantation season. 

More about Okra

The botanical name for okra is Hibiscus esculentus  (formerly Abelmoschus esculent).

It is an upright annual plant that produces slender, tapered, five-sided edible pods that can be red, white, or green and are sometimes called lady’s fingers. 

The pods can be smooth or slightly fuzzy in texture. Each pod contains sections of edible green or brownish seeds. Okra tastes best when the pods are harvested 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) long.

Okra pods contain a gummy, slippery substance that tends to become more slippery or gelatinous when cooked. It’s that mucilaginous texture that helps to thicken soups, stews, and gumbo.

Okra is classified as a fruit but it has often been utilized as a vegetable, both on its own and with other dishes and materials. 

Cooking okra in moisture will create a sticky mucilaginous juice that increases the thickness of soups and stews. Dried okra can also thicken sauces.

To avoid the sticky juice formation, you need to wash the okra, wipe it with a dry cloth and let it dry for a while. Some people sometimes use it as an egg white substitute to increase the richness of flavor.

Okra is native to tropical Africa and Asia.

Other uses of okra

Okra seeds are roasted, ground and are used as a caffeine-free substitute for coffee.

Okra oil extracted from its seeds is also used as it has a pleasant taste and has oleic and linoleic acids.

The thick mucilage produced by okra is under development to be used as biodegradable food packaging.

It is also used for removing turbidity from wastewater. 

In a scientific study, the okra seed oil has shown antioxidant and anti-stress effects in the bloodstream of mice.

Okra nutrition

Okra when raw is 90% water, 2% protein, 7% carbohydrates, and negligible in fat.  Okra is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K, with moderate contents of thiamin, folate, and magnesium. It also provides iron, niacin, phosphorus, copper, and a rich source of antioxidants. 

Nutritional Value

Like all vegetables, Okra too is healthy food. It has good nutritional content. So it is not just good in taste but also healthy food. 

Nutritional value per 100g 

Energy: 138 KJ

Carbohydrate: 7.46 g

Protein: 1.9g

Fat: 0.19g

Conclusion 

In this article, we discussed different ways to cook large okra which are usually thrown away because it has an undesirable woody texture which makes it difficult to cook. 

We saw that such large okras can be cooked in a stew, baked, deep-fried, pickled to make a tasty dish. 

References 

  1. https://harvesttotable.com/okra_if_you_are_cajun/
  2. https://www.thespruceeats.com/foot-long-okra-2216752#:~:text=Cooking%20Giant%20Okra&text=Or%2C%20slit%20the%20pods%20down,add%2Dons%20are%20nicely%20brown.
  3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okra

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