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Family Nutrition

Be OK with Okra

Crunchy when raw and frequently over-cooked, okra has a polarized reputation: People love it or hate it. But you can’t hate what you haven’t tried at its very best. So seek out fresh, seasonal okra and give it a fair chance.

Okra grows in pods filled with rows of small round seeds. Buy a basket the next time you see them freshly picked at a market; wash one off and bite into the raw pod. You’ll find it crunchy with a slightly “green” flavor that tastes like summer. Remember that crunch when you cook with okra too. A firm texture is what you’re going for.

In addition to vitamin C, the low-calorie green vegetable is a rich source of dietary fiber. The gooey substance surrounding the crunchy seeds is mucilage, nature’s way of smoothing food through our systems.

When buying okra, look for small green or red pods between 1 and 3 inches long. Larger pods may be too mature and too woody to eat. Avoid pods that are bruised or black. Store raw okra in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Reduce the goo
Cooking okra at a high heat reduces the amount of goo it emits, so look for recipes that employ roasting, stir-frying and sautéing. Also look for recipes that leave the pods whole, cut into large chunks or sliced lengthwise.

Introduce okra to your family and know you’re letting them in on a delicious secret they’ll enjoy for life.

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