Field of Science

About okra

Yesterday's trip to our local farmer's market held no real surprises: peppers were rebounding, tomatoes, except maybe cherry tomatoes, were shot, fall crops were coming into season, and people had a lot of okra for sale, and sadly, most of it was not worth buying.  The reason for this is simple; it was all too mature.  There are a number of fruits that we usually eat as vegetables that are only edible when immature.  The mature fruits are inedible.  Okra matures into a hard, dry capsular fruit that splits open along 5 seams to release its seeds.  As long as the young fruits are elongating, they are soft enough to consume, but once they reach their mature length, they become fibrous very quickly, and okra grows rather quickly so you must pick any pods more than an inch long once a week.  This is the zucchini lesson all over again.  Pick them young!  But vendor after vendor had great big old things as if large size were a virtue.  Hmm, no image of okra in the files, especially a mature fruit, but here's a nice image of an okra flower.  The flower is a dead give-away that okra belongs in the mallow/hibiscus family.
The season and okra in combination remind TPP of one more thing: my suggestion that team mascots be plant names.  Let's add to the ranks of forward looking universities and colleges by introducing the Delta State Fighting Okras!  Yea, go Okras!  Fear the Okra!  Got to get one of those t-shirts!  If the pods start to sprout arms, they're too old to eat.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Our local community college is the Artichokes.