Okra or Abelmoschus esculentus is a decorative plant that’s thought-about a part of the Malvaceae household which incorporates cacao, durian and hibiscus. Though the geographical origin of okra is disputed, it’s believed to have roots round Ethiopia the place it may be traced way back to the 12th century BC the place it was cultivated by Egyptians.
Also referred to as woman’s fingers, okra is grown throughout Asia, Africa, South America, Africa and the Center East. In Australia, okra is grown primarily within the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia, with different states producing smaller volumes.
Progress and harvest
Okra grows finest in sizzling and humid climates and is at its peak through the summer season months. The crops are perennials, however are often cultivated yearly and require full solar. It is suggested seeds are soaked in a single day in tepid water earlier than planting to advertise germination. Seeds have to be positioned 2cm deep in heat soil with 15cm between every planting.
Throughout the early levels, a 5-6cm layer of mulch ought to be utilized to forestall weeds from rising. Vegetation have to be watered and fertilised all through the expansion course of for optimum yield. The seed pods are sometimes harvested after about two months or as soon as they’ve reached 5-6cm in size.
When eradicating the pods, it is very important put on protecting clothes and gloves as most varieties are lined in spines that may irritate the pores and skin. To take away the pods from the plant, the stem ought to be reduce above the cap with a pointy knife. If the stems are too troublesome to chop, the pod is just too previous to devour and ought to be discarded. After the primary harvest, the decrease leaves of the plant ought to be eliminated by hand or with scissors.
Flavour profile and look
There are lots of completely different forms of okra, however Clemson’s Spineless and darkish inexperienced are probably the most generally grown throughout Australia. Clemson’s Spineless grows between 7-10cm in size however different varieties can attain as much as 17cm.
Most okra is mid to darkish inexperienced in color apart from Purple Burgundy. Youthful pods have white seeds that change to black because the plant matures. The fruit is understood for its lengthy slender form and is agency to the contact. It has a gentle, grassy flavour that’s akin to eggplant or inexperienced beans.
Though okra is taken into account a kind of fruit, it’s handled as a vegetable when utilized in cooking. Okra may be stir-fried, stewed, blanched or boiled and is a staple in Southern, Caribbean and Indian cuisines. The fruit has a crunchy texture when it’s sautéed however turns into tender when it’s cooked. It secretes a slimy mucus that acts as a pure thickening agent, making it splendid for dishes equivalent to gumbo. The slime ends in an acquired mouth really feel, which is why most cooks soak okra in a water and vinegar combination earlier than cooking.