If you love okra, chances are you’re from the South. This mainstay of Southern cooking is most commonly eaten breaded and fried or in gumbo, where its thick, viscous texture adds body and flavor to the regional favorite. Not surprisingly, this Southern favorite thrives in hot weather and warm soil. Okra is drought-tolerant, although it needs moisture during flowering and pod set.
Some okra varieties have spines on the leaves and stems, so wear gloves when harvesting. Cut pods from the plant when they are 2-4 inches long, about five or six days after flowering. Harvest pods frequently during hot weather because they quickly become too tough to eat.
Although it’s great fried or in gumbo, it can also be steamed, boiled, baked, grilled, or pickled.