Okra’s history of origin is constantly being contented. Most people recognise it as an iconic Southern crop.
The crop grows in tropical or subtropical regions around the world. This includes Asia and Africa.
Okra is also known as ochro, lady fingers, and gumbo. The vegetable serves as an ingredient in several delicious dishes around the world.
This article will cover what okra tastes like and common questions relating to its taste.
What Does Okra Taste Like?
What does okra taste like? It has a mild and mellow flavour. The taste is near grassy, but not so much that it is overwhelming.
Okra’s taste is uniquely its own. You might, however, find people comparing its taste with eggplants. Some also compare it to green beans.
What stands okra out is its unique texture. Okra’s texture changes from dish to dish, depending on how you prepare it.
When the lady finger vegetable is slow-cooked, it turns out to be mouth-wateringly tender. When it is cooked quickly, it is quite crunchy.
Okra’s taste and texture are usually a source of contention between several people. But it might be easier to understand what okra tastes like when you trace its family.
The vegetable belongs to the mallow family. It is related to cacao and cotton.
An outstanding feature of the okra is how it grows. It grows elongated with its pod protruding like fingers. Hence, the moniker “lady fingers”.
Being mucilaginous adds a unique spin to the okra vegetable’s taste. Mucilaginous means the plant produces a slime or “goo” when cooked.
The slime comes from soluble fibre. This fibre affects the flavour and texture of the okra plant.
If you love colourful flavour profiles, the okra might seem incredibly dull to you. Some people are wary of trying out the vegetable because it doesn’t look so appealing.
It is even more misunderstood after it is cooked, with what some consider excessive slime, fine hairs and small pods.
The okra plant even gets slimy when cut. The fingers are prone to breaking easily. When broken, they release the goo, making them hard to handle.
But if you know how to cook it properly, the pea flavour is mild and enhancing. Simply, other spices and ingredients blend well with the okra.
When cooked expertly, okra soups and meals can actually be quite delicious.
Lovers of the vegetable consider it a more fibrous and tender version of the eggplant.
When picked at the right time, okras have their best flavours. They combine a silky texture with crunchiness.
Some people think that the okra vegetable is spicy because it resembles a pepper bell. However, this is not the case.
Okra has no spice profile at all. All it has is a light nutty flavour when you chew on the seeds.
Regardless, okra can be made to be spicy. It quickly takes on the flavour of whatever ingredients it is cooked with.
If you prepare your okra to be spicy, it will turn out incredibly so.
For many people, though, the okra taste is too dull. Most people consider it a boring vegetable.
Those who enjoy the okra have learned to eat it with several condiments and dressings.
Can You Eat Okra Raw?
Yes, you can eat the vegetable raw. That is, if you do not mind what okra tastes like raw.
People that eat okra raw consider the taste to be similar to green peppers. Since they are not spicy, they only represent an earthier vegetable without the zing.
If you eat okra raw, you are in for a crunchy experience. Many people appreciate the crunchiness of raw okras.
But okra can only taste this good when it is properly harvested.
To harvest okra properly, be careful of the pant hairs. They can cause itching.
Also, pick the bright green ones that aren’t bruised. Make sure their tips are crisps.
When you harvest them well, you can use them for salads or eat them directly without cooking. You can also include them in stir fry recipes.
The entire okra plant is edible. Just like any other green, eating it fresh is actually better for you.
The less cooked okra is, the more nutrients it has. In its raw state, okra contains high fibre, folate and antioxidants. It also contains Vitamins A and C.
To eat okras raw, you can slice off the stem and cut up the pods. Slice them into 1-inch pieces.
Then simply give them a quick sauté. This will reduce the green taste.
The mucilage content aids digestion. When consumed raw, it also retains more nutrients.
Can You Eat the Stem of Okra?
Yes, you can eat the stem of okra.
Most people cut off the stems before preparing the okra vegetable. Even when people eat it raw, it is still without the stem.
But you can eat okra stems as well.
Admittedly, they taste different from the rest of the plant. They are crunchier and harder to chew, especially when eaten raw.
They might even be stringent.
When cooked, they retain their crunchiness but not so much that it’s off-putting.
You can roast okra stems or dry them and eat them as snacks.
How to Eat Okra
There are several ways to eat okra.
Some eat it raw, but others prefer to cook it. To decrease its sliminess, you can prepare by roasting or broiling. You can also steam okra.
Another way to get rid of the slime is to dredge okra in flour or cornmeal. Deep fry till crisp. This is, in fact, a popular southern dish.
Also, some cooks add eggs to okra to get rid of the slime. You can also prepare it as curried.
Pickled okras are a treat.
You can combine okras with meats and other vegetables for a pickled variety. Okra holds well with different seasonings, including cajun seasonings. They go well with black peppercorns.
You can also cook it with corn, catfish, chilli, and even andouille sausages.
Make okra into gumbo. Use chicken, seafood, or sausages to make gumbo.
This delicacy is quite popular and extremely delicious when prepared right. You can also make okra gumbo without any meat at all.
Oven-roasted okra tastes great. You can roast okra with olive oil, pepper, and salt for simple flavour.
To improve on the flavour profile, smother okra with several spices that go well together. Okra lovers thoroughly enjoy the spicy version of this meal.
Popular in places like West Africa, okra soups are delicious treats. This is mainly for you if you’re not particularly excited about okra’s taste on its own.
Use a beef broth to disguise the bland flavour of the vegetable. People also prepare okra stews with tomato-based lamb and bamya.
What Happens When You Eat Okra Every Day?
Okra contains magnesium in high quantities. This helps to maintain and regulate blood pressure.
The leafy vegetable is also full of antioxidants. These compounds found in food are responsible for fending off free radicals which are harmful molecules.
When you eat okra, you improve your heart health. Lady fingers help to lower the risks of blood clots and oxidative damage.
Since the antioxidants in okra help keep cholesterol levels low, you significantly reduce the risk of heart damage. Therefore you have lesser chances of experiencing heart disease.
Mucilage binds itself to cholesterol during the digestive process, thus aiding digestion.
What is Okra Similar to?
Okra is quite unique.
However, some folks think its flavour profile resembles that of eggplants. Others think that it tastes the same as green beans.
Some meals’ recipes might allow these two vegetables to replace okra.
Nevertheless, okra’s natural thickening properties means that you can’t fit them into all okra recipes.
You can use cornstarch or flour to thicken soups and stews with green beans or eggplants.
Some people also compare okra’s taste with that of green peppers, only without the spicy flavour. Plus okra is considered earthier than green peppers.
How to Freeze Okra
Once you harvest this vegetable, they can only last for a few days before spoiling. Luckily, okras freeze well.
- Pick young tender pods from the garden or supermarket.
- Separate into smaller pods (less than 4 inches) and larger ones.
- Wash well.
- Remove the stems but don’t expose the seed cell.
- Water-blanch the bigger pods for 4 minutes and the smaller ones for 3 minutes.
- Drain the water. Allow the pods to cool.
- You can either leave whole or slice or crosswise.
- Package, but don’t squeeze together.
- Seal and freeze.
To Sum Up
Okra is a mild vegetable but holds a lot of promise when prepared well.
People avoid it before as of its slime, but there are ways from keeping the “goo” from being too excessive.
Moreover, the slime is actually quite healthy and good for you.
Eat more okra by trying out several recipes from different cultures!