Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lesson in okra management

(For the first six or so years of my life, I thought it was "okrie." That's how Memaw always said it. And she always cooked a "mess" of it. And she grew it in her front yard, down by the corner stop sign, and nobody thought anything of it. Besides, she was the neighborhood association.)

We only have a few okra plants, so I'm not sure we will get a full mess of okrie out of our garden. But we did learn today that, with our tightly-packed planting area, you can miss some things until after they've grown past the right size for picking. Case in point:


According to our nifty little book and the back of the seed packet, this one is about the right size for harvesting. But that wasn't the one we saw that got us started picking. It was this one:

This one, it turns out, is a little bigger than recommended. We could've picked it a few days ago, but it got ahead of us.

And then there's the one we didn't see until we really started rooting around the stalks between the tomato plants. We wonder how on earth we missed something this big:


According to our limited knowledge, this one is past its peak and likely to be tough. We wonder if they mean that for the people who boil okra, not for people like us who plan to cut it up, shake it in cornmeal, and pan-fry it.

No, these three do not constitute a mess of any kind. That is, unless you squish them up and get the slime all over you.

8 comments:

RevAnne said...

You can have the okra. Fried or in gumbo is the only way I can take it. It violates my weird food rules, 2 of which are:
1. Vegetables should not be sweet. It's unnatural. (this applies to cooked carrots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes. Ugh.)
2. Food should not create its own slime. Even things that should have a little slime of their own, which is yucky, should be presented to me clean, neatly packaged (or cooked) and slime-free. (that's the okra rule. also has some fish-type implications)
You have, however, inspired me to fry up a mess of fried green tomatoes this week. Wish I had some squash, but thinking about eggplant in their place. Have had some yummy cherry tomatoes.

God_Guurrlll said...

A trinitarian group of okra. There's a sermon in there somewhere.

zorra said...

Saw the first picture--was thinking, "That one looks about right--what does she mean, grown past the right size?" Second picture, "well, yeah, that's a little big for frying". Third picture! Whoa!!! I wonder if they would still make good pickles at that size?
You may have surmised, I'm gardening vicariously through you this year!

Songbird said...

The men in my life fear okra.

They are very silly.

I consider my love of okra to prove that although I have lived in New England for 21 years, I am still a Southern girl.

DogBlogger said...

Songbird, you should show the men in your life the okra episode of Food Network's "Good Eats." There is actually a college out there somewhere with the Fightin' Okra as a mascot, and he is a guest star on that episode.

Also, in Sunday school today one of my blog readers let me know I could dry the big ones and make Christmas ornaments... she emailed me a picture this afternoon. Quite interesting...

mid-life rookie said...

Okra, yum. I just bought some at the little local farmers market. I may boil mine or I may try steaming it in the Ziploc Veggie Steam bags for microwave. They have worked well for squash, green beans and asparagus. Okra may be a little iffy.

ElastiGirl said...

that big one could be just right boiled with one tomato and a slice of bacon...

zorra said...

The Delta State University Fighting Okra are in Cleveland, MS, about 25 miles from my home town. They really are the Statesmen, but supposedly someone said of the team in their green uniforms, "They look like a mess of okra down there." And a legend was born.