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While okra is delicious, did you know it was also nutritious?
Nashville, Ark. – Fresh okra is a favorite summer vegetable in the south. Most gardens
have an abundance of okra through October. While okra is delicious, did you know it
was also nutritious?
Okra is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients and very low in calories. One-half cup
has only 25 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and is a rich source
of essential vitamins and minerals. Okra provides vitamins A, C, K and folate. It
is also a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
To gain all the nutritional benefits of okra, choose small tender pods that are free
of brown streaks. Choose ones that are deep green and not woody. To determine if the
pod is not woody, slightly push the tip of okra over with your finger. If it flexes
and does not break, this usually means the okra is not woody. If you are buying okra,
choose pods that are crisp-looking yet tender and two to four inches long. Long pods
usually indicate toughness.
When determining how much okra to purchase allow one-fourth pound per serving. Once
you cut it fresh or purchase it, store it properly. Fresh okra is very perishable.
Okra should be stored in a paper bag or wrapped in a pager towel and placed inside
a perforated bag to keep the pods very dry. Moisture causes pods to become slimy.
Okra can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
For longer storage, blanch the okra whole and freeze. Freeze only young, tender okra.
It must be blanched before freezing. Unblanched okra will quickly become tough and
suffer huge nutrient, flavor and color loss during freezing.
Okra can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can be boiled, baked, or fried. It combines
well with other vegetables especially tomatoes and is a natural thickening agent in
soups and gumbo.
To prepare, clean the okra, trim off the stem and tip. Then grill or roast by tossing
okra with enough olive oil to coat the pods, add a dash of salt and pepper and grill
each side on medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Rapid cooking will preserve the flavor
and prevent pastiness. It is recommended to not use cast iron, aluminum or exposed
copper pots for cooking okra because okra cooked in these pans will turn black.
For more information on okra or other vegetables, especially preserving them, contact
the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517. The Cooperative Extension Service
is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. You can visit
our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.
Roasting is a great way to prepare okra. It is easy to do and is lower
in calories than traditional frying. The best advantage is it only takes 20 minutes
18 small fresh okra pods (if using larger pods, slice into ½-inch pieces.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
½ to 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Preheat oven to 425⁰F. Arrange the okra in one layer on a foil lined cookie
sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn every 5 minutes
for even browning.
Note: Try experimenting with other seasonings. Garlic and onion powder are possible
Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calories: 61, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Carbohydrate: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Fiber: 2g,
Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 393 mg
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff Chair U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.