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bunch of okra

Produce Spotlight on Okra

Okra, a warm-season fruit that originated in Africa, is primarily used as a vegetable. Okra pods have a sweet, grassy flavor and contain seeds and mucilage, a thick, gel-like substance that makes okra a good thickening agent. This superfood is high in calcium, vitamins A and C, minerals, and fiber and is low in calories.


Shopping for Okra

Look for firm, immature pods with no mushy or brown spots. Avoid overripe okra, which will be very sticky. Although some varieties are larger than others, in general pod tenderness decreases as size increases. Red varieties do not retain their color when cooked. Okra is available fresh in the summer and early fall. Frozen or canned okra is available year-round.


Common Types

Clemson Spineless – most popular type; spineless, dark green pods up to 9 inches long.

Bondy – dwarf plant with small, pale green spineless pods; grows well in cool locations and patio pots.

Emerald – large yet tender dark green spineless pods; retain their color when cooked or canned.

Burgundy – large, deep red pods; very tender. Silver Queen – an heirloom okra with creamy-colored ivory-green pods.


Storage and Preparation

  • Refrigerate unwashed okra in a paper bag for up to 3 days.
  • Wash uncut okra under running water and pat dry with a clean towel before cutting. Trim stem ends; do not cut into the pod.
  • To freeze, blanch washed and trimmed pods for 3–4 minutes, cool in ice water, and drain. Leave whole or slice crosswise. Freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet and then transfer to a labeled container or freezer bag. Use within 9 months.


Serving Ideas

  • Brush pods with oil and seasonings and grill on high or roast in a hot oven.
  • To sauté, cut trimmed pods into 1-inch pieces.
  • Simmer in a gumbo or stew with rice, beans, and tomatoes.
  • Make pickled okra with lemon, garlic, and vinegar.


Okra Math

1 serving =

8 pods (3 inches long) or ½ cup raw, frozen, or cooked


Using Locally Grown Produce

For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website To locate places to buy local produce, visit

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1 cup, medium; Calories: 33; Carbohydrates: 7.5 g; Fiber: 3.2 g; Fat: 0.2 g; Saturated fat: 0 g; Sodium: 7 mg