If you’ve ever grown okra, you’ll know it’s important to cut young pods from the plant shortly after they appear, while finger length and still tender. Waiting even a day too long can allow this fast-growing vegetable to become tough and inedible. Try storing freshly picked okra pods in sealed plastic bags in the refrigerator or freezer until there’s enough on hand for these recipes.

Amanda Cunningham, Staff Writer


From our Readers:

Roasted Okra

Margaret Shelton, Chatham, Virginia


3-4 cups fresh whole okra
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon McCormick’s salad spice


Wash okra and pat dry, then cut and discard tops. Slice lengthwise in halves, then in quarters. Place in a gallon ziplock bag. Add olive oil, then all five seasonings. Seal bag and shake until the okra is evenly coated. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a rectangular pan with aluminum foil, then grease with non-stick spray. Spread okra so pieces are not touching and bake for 30 minutes. If not browned, turn over and bake 10 more minutes.


From our Readers:

Best-Ever Fried Okra

Wendy Lankford, Red Oak, Virginia


1 lb. okra
2 large eggs
¼ cup milk
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying


Wash okra and pat dry, then slice crosswise into ¾” pieces. Whisk together eggs and milk; set aside. Mix dry ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag. Add okra to egg mixture and stir until evenly moistened, then toss several pieces at a time into ziplock bag and shake to coat. Fry in batches until golden, 1-2 minutes. Drain and season with salt. Serve with hot sauce.


From our Readers:

Okra & Stewed Tomatoes

Paula Robinson, Spring Grove, Virginia


3 slices of bacon
2 lbs. okra, cut in ½” pieces
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
Sugar (small amount)
2 lbs. fresh diced tomatoes
1 cup corn Salt & pepper to taste


Cook bacon until crisp. Drain and reserve the drippings. Slice okra into the hot drippings (this prevents it from becoming slimy). Add green pepper, onion, and sugar. Stir in tomatoes and corn. Season to taste, then cover skillet and cook 15 minutes. Crumble bacon on top and serve.


From Our Readers:

Lisa’s Pickled Okra

Lisa Black, Charles City, Virginia


1½ lbs. fresh, tender okra
1 lemon, sliced in 4 rounds
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons pickling spice
2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups water
3 tablespoons salt


Wash okra and trim stems. Place one lemon slice and one garlic clove in each of four sterilized pint canning jars, then add a tablespoon pickling spice to each. Pack okra pods vertically in each jar, alternating direction of caps. Meanwhile, bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil. Pour into jars so that okra is covered by at least ¼” liquid, with ¼” space at the top. Screw on sterilized lids and store in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks. Refrigerate after opening.



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