Thursday, August 11, 2011

Okra

This week we've been eating okra almost daily. It is tasty cooked on its own or added to other dishes. A few of our favorite ways to prepare okra are:
* Saute chopped okra in a little canola oil until tender and sprinkle it with sea salt and pepper.
* Dip chopped okra in a beaten egg and then bread it in cornmeal. Lightly fry it in a little canola oil until browned and crisp on the outside. It will be tender inside.
* Add okra to beans, rice, squash and tomatoes.
* Add okra to gumbo.
* And I just came across a recipe for okra curry I want to try soon.


Yet okra grows fast and if it gets over mature it is too tough to eat. If it makes a hard, crunchy sound when you cut into it, then you know it's going to be fibrous. At this point you can either leave other ones you suspect are too mature on the plant to dry and collect the seeds for next year, compost the okra, or use them to make art.
Okra has a beautiful shape and children and adults alike may enjoy printing with them. I use watercolor paint and brush a little color on the flat cut side. Then press it firmly to paper. You can talk about pattern making and counting with young children as they make their prints. Try it!


20 comments:

  1. oh heather i just love this!!!

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  2. Thanks Amy!

    Yeah, bring back memories Rach? ;)

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  3. love, love, love! this heather!

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  4. Amber, I bet little B. would have fun with this. :)

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  5. Very cool! I wouldn't have thought of the natural stamp idea, but I love it! My favorite way to eat okra is the breaded and fried way you mentioned. Yum, yum.

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  6. Heather---can I tell you that since I found the blue spruce print, I've become increasingly inspired by your nature-driven work? I mean...stamping with okra? Brilliant. Can you make me notecards like that, too? :) When I was little, my mama and sister used to do potato stamps. but this is way cooler.

    Hoping you are well!

    s from casayellow.com

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  7. I've bought some ruby okra seed to grow at our place this summer. Last time I tried okra it didn't fruit, it was a short cooler summer. Hoping to have success in a sunnier spot this year. How many plants would you recommend? Any growing tips? My mum does a spicy fried Indonesian style okra that is to die for. Gumbo is also good. I love their unique gooey burst. Those prints are just beautiful! great craft activity.

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  8. Thanks Kim! And breaded and fried really is the best. :)

    Sarah- Thanks so much! You can make okra note cards,you know. :) Potato blocks are really fun too, we do that project with the preschool children I teach.

    Kirsty- Yes, you're right. Okra likes to grow in full sun, they really like heat and once established tolerate dry conditions. So the short cool summer last year might be why they didn't bloom.

    Shari- Your comment reminds me of your flower Friday! :)

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  9. I will definitely try this. I've used this method many times for gift wrap, cards and labels for homemade gifts. Tons of fun and yes, the kids love it!

    http://intheyellowhouse.blogspot.com/2009/09/garnishing-grape-jelly-for-giving.html

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  10. I am over the moon for okra, and would absolutely love to yoink this idea to make note cards for my family in Okra-- sorry, Oklahoma.

    Gorgeous idea, beautiful blog!

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  11. Just one question - when you cut into the okra is the gooey stuff still there in the larger ones? If so, do you somehow have to clean this out before stamping?

    I love this idea and look forward to using those big okras for something pretty. :)

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  12. Junebug- I don't do any cleaning out. Simply slice and print!

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  13. I love the idea of printing with overgrown okra pods! ...and I love okra on the grill as well. Just roast whole right over the flames until they are a little singed. yum.

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  14. This is a great idea! I hate eating okra, but this will look super nifty printed on my fabric farmer's market bag! Had to link it!

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  15. This is a really cool idea! the design is beautiful.

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  16. Love this! We've not had much okra this year but I bet I could find an old one to play with. Thanks.

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