I feel like people who don’t like okra are the ones who have only experienced it being slimy and gross, similar to snot. Not very appetizing to most of us, right?
But I LOVE okra. I love the gorgeous flowers that appear on okra plants. I love how quickly they grow. I love eating them fresh, pickled, preserving them.
The only thing I don’t like about okra is how the plants always make my arms break out when I’m picking.
One of my favorite ways to eat okra fresh is by roasting them. Heat your oven to 400*F and slice the okra pods length wise. I toss them with just a smidge of olive oil, salt and pepper before spreading them out on a sheet pan. Then I roast them for 15-20 minutes or until they are at your preferred level of crispness (I like them super crispy).
Roasted is how my son likes them best. My partner likes them best pickled – which as of today, I have not pickled any for him.
But what I am doing right is dehydrating okra. While some people dehydrate okra to snack on (like chips), I’m dehydrating these to save for use in soups, stews, and gumbos over the winter.
It’s so easy to dehydrate okra, hence the reason why I’m doing it. I take the tends pods from our garden and slice them into 1/2″ sections and throw them on my dehydrator for anywhere from 6-8 hours. You want them crisp but not overly so (to where they turn brown).
Store in a sanitized mason jar until you’re ready for them!
See? Easy enough.
There’s still time for another planting of okra (if I hurry) for my zone 7 (and higher), so I think I’m doing to toss some more seeds in the ground. We like to use a variety of different okras – Clemson Spinless, Burgundy, and Cow Horn.
Speaking of seeds, it is SO easy to save seeds from okra pods. Towards the end of the growing season, I leave some of the pods on the okra plants – leaving them to grow large and dry on the plant. Once dry, I break open the pods and store the seeds in my jar for next year!
If you want to read more on okra, I highly suggest this article from AgroWeb on Dried Okra, the Albanian Tradition of Zahire.