Published On: Wed, Jul 4th, 2018

A Cherokee Gardener’s Journal: My okra connection

 

By JODY BRADLEY

OKRA: Jody Bradley raises Baby Bubba Okra in an Earth Box on the deck of her home.

Okra is my favorite vegetable. I like it lightly rolled in cornmeal and fried.  Sometimes, I add onions, sometimes green tomatoes.  I like it boiled with tomatoes and corn.  Lately, I discovered a great recipe – skewered and grilled with a sprinkle of garlic and a toss of olive oil. My husband doesn’t care for fried okra so I get it all to myself.  It’s like popcorn, and I love it with ketchup.

Paige’s Okra Grill in Mount Pleasant, SC is one of my favorite places to eat.  They serve a killer Bloody Mary that my dad would have loved. The drink comes with a large piece of bacon and a stalk of pickled okra.  When my dad was alive, he called and invited me to his house for okra.  He and I ate a pan of fried okra with nothing else.

Okra is mucilaginous, which means it has a “goo” or slime which turns a lot of people off. Developing countries use okra to mitigate malnutrition.  Okra is rich in dietary fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K.  It contains thiamine, folate, and magnesium.  Okra is 90 percent water, 2 percent protein, and 7 percent carbohydrate.  Surprisingly, the leaves may be served like greens and the okra seeds may be roasted and ground for coffee. I have not tried this, but there’s a first time for everything.

Last year, I raised Baby Bubba Okra in an Earth Box on the deck. The growing season is short and The Earth Box provides enough to grill and enjoy. Yet, this is not enough to satisfy my craving.

Uncle Ham is my Okra Connection.  He farms on Bradley Loop and raises the best okra. I drive by and check out the long rows in the garden to see how it’s doing. He always calls me when he has extra okra or brings it to my house.  I usually fry the first batch and eat it immediately.  I prep the rest and freeze it for later.  I depend on Uncle Ham to help me with my Okra fix.  Thank you Uncle Ham.

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