Information about Vegetables: Okra

About okra, information about the vegetable, production, history and varieties in the world.


Sometimes known as "ladies' fingers," okra was cultivated early in Africa, and found its way to this country via the West Indies, and possibly directly from Africa, along with shiploads of slaves. In the U.S., cultivation is limited to the hot southern States. However, the ridged pods are a familiar sight in our markets all year round. Okra is best-known as an important ingredient in the famous southern gumbos, but is also delicious parboiled and then lightly sauteed, or as fritters. If possible, choose pods under 3" long--they are then more likely to be tender. Okra supplies only a little vitamin A and C, and is correspondingly low in calories. In some countries it is used as a substitute for coffee. In the East, it is popular as a poultice to relieve pain. A perfume called ambrette is made from the musky-odored seeds. The best perfumed seeds are said to come from Martinique.

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