Also known as lady’s fingers, this lantern shaped pod contains rows of seeds and oozes a sticky mucilaginous (big word!) liquid when cooked. It’s great for thickening stews and soups and we love it in our Indian curries. It is also possible to eat the young ones raw – slice it thinly and savour the sweetness.
Originally from Africa, the African slaves took with them the few things they could when they were shipped to the New World – dried peas, yams, ackee and OKRA. When the slave trade was finally abolished, okra was an important part of the cuisine of the Carribean. The Creoles adopted a popular native American-Indian dish called “gumbo”.
Gumbos are now hallmark of Creole cooking and in some parts of America, the work “gumbo” is an alternative word for okra.
(Source: The Vegetable Encyclopedia and Cookbook by Christine Ingram)