Thanks to its slimy texture, people either love or hate okra. It is an essential part of the Caribbean, Southern and Indian cuisines. It is added to gumbo and stews.
However, there are various other ways in which you can cook okra, and depending on how you cook it, okra ends up becoming super crunchy or super slimy. Similarly, the flavor of okra can vary as well, depending on the way you cook it.
But, what does okra taste like to begin with?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about okra!
What Is Okra?
Okra is a fruit that is typically eaten as a vegetable. This fuzzy green “veggie” is a fruit because it’s the seed pod of the okra plant. It is also known as ladyfinger due to its slender, tube-like shape that resembles a finger. It is native to Ethiopia and grows best in hot, humid climates.
Okra has a peach-like fuzz on the exterior and is filled with tiny white seeds. It contains mucilage, which is a naturally occurring substance that’s responsible for the slimy texture of okra.
It is grown in various parts of the world including India, Pakistan, Egypt, Ghana, Mexico, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, and the US.
What Does Okra Taste Like?
So, what does okra taste like? Okra has a mild taste with grassy hints that are unique to the okra flavor. The taste of okra is at times compared to the taste of green beans or eggplant.
With that said, okra gets more attention for its texture rather than its taste; it has an extremely slimy texture!
Can You Eat Okra Raw?
Yes, you can eat raw okra. The okra parts are edible even when they are raw. So, you don’t necessarily have to cook it before munching down on this fruit.
How to Store Okra
You can store okra in paper bags and put it in your fridge’s crisper drawer or veggie compartment for about 4 days. Alternatively, you can use plastic wrap to wrap it loosely.
When you want to cook refrigerated okra, make sure to take it out of your fridge and wait for it to come to room temperature. This will ensure that the stored okra doesn’t release too much moisture during cooking.
If you happen to have a huge batch of okra or you’ve grown it in your garden, then you can store it in your freezer for up to a year. Just make sure to thoroughly wash and then stem the pods and blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes. Then, throw them in an ice water bath and chop them up.
Flash freeze the chopped okra and then put the frozen okra slices in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Store the bag in your freezer.
How to Pick Out Okra
Sadly, okra isn’t a highly popular fruit, which is why you won’t find fresh okra in all grocery stores. Okra is in season from May through September, so you can expect to find fresh okra during that time. If you can’t find fresh okra, then you can make do with the frozen, pre-cut ones that are sold at most grocery stores.
If you are looking to buy fresh okra, then look for pods that feel firm but aren’t too hard to the touch. Only buy bright green pods that don’t have any blemishes on them.
It’s alright if the stems are a little brown; however, the greener the pod and stem are, the likelier it is that the okra is incredibly fresh.
Avoid buying dull, soft, bruised, or blemished okra pods and pods that are longer than 4 inches. If the okra pods have a sticky texture, then it means that they are too ripe.
Ways to Cook Okra
There are various ways in which you can cook okra. However, before you cook it, just make sure to rinse it and then pat dry it thoroughly. Then, you can go ahead and cut it into rounds or slice it lengthwise.
If you’re not a fan of its slimy texture, then you can fry it quickly on high flame with your preferred spices. It’ll help reduce the sliminess and the cooked okra will be incredibly crunchy.
Additionally, you can soak okra in vinegar before cooking it to reduce the slime. Just make sure to dry it thoroughly before cooking. You can also choose to grill it at high flame.
Alternatively, if you like the sliminess of okra, then you can slow cook it with some tomatoes and onions for that deliciously slimy texture. You can also coat it with bread crumbs and spices and then deep-dry it or use it in stews and soups such as gumbo. You can also pickle it to cut down the sliminess of the okra.
The Bottom Line
I hope this article answered your question, “What does okra taste like?” It has a mild, grassy taste and a slimy texture. Make sure to try the various ways in which you can cook okra and decide whether you love it or not!