You found okra on the market and out of curiosity you bought some and now you question yourself, can you eat raw okra or do you have to cook it?
In this case, you found the right article because I will talk about the risks and benefits of eating raw okra and how to cook it if you don’t necessarily need it raw.
Okra is a flowering plant part of the mellow family, it is quite rare in the U.S. and Europe, but you will often find it in Southeast Asia, North Africa, and close-by regions.
So it really depends where you are from. If you are from a country where it grows naturally, you probably tried it, but if you are not, it can be an exotic plant that you want to try.
Can you eat raw okra?
It is safe and even healthier to eat raw okra than cooked okra. However, the texture of raw okra can be off-putting for most people since the seed pods have a mucilage layer.
By drying or cooking okra, you get rid of the characteristic slime, which is the biggest reason why people don’t eat raw okra all that much.
Okra has a great nutritional value due to its high fiber content and many other vitamins like vitamin A, C, K, and more. But like other vegetables, a considerable part of those good nutrients will be lost while cooking, boiling, or even drying the plant. So this is the reason why raw okra is a bit healthier than cooked one.
What parts of okra are edible?
The best thing about okra is that it’s entirely edible. The leaves, the flower, and the seeds are edible.
The flowers are not usually eaten since they will turn into the okra, and okra as a plant has more nutritional benefits than the flower itself. So you will not find so often raw okra flowers on the menu, but they are edible and even good for making tea.
Okra leaves are good for salad or used as a substitute for spinach or baby spinach.
The seeds are edible, so you don’t need to discard them when eating the plant, but they also can be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee.
So you can find a use for this interesting little green plant no matter what.
Read Also: Can You Eat Raw Mussels?
Can you freeze okra?
Yes, you can freeze raw or even roasted okra. It is better to slice and blanch it before freezing it. While blanching is not mandatory, it will help keep the moisture of the okra inside.
Make sure you put the sliced okra in an airtight container to keep the moisture there and avoid food contamination this way.
Frozen okra will last for about six months. You don’t lose much of their flavor and texture if you use frozen okra for a stew or a soup, but it can be underwhelming if you plan to eat them raw after thawing.
In case you plan to eat raw okra, make sure you get them as fresh as possible.
How to use raw and cooked okra?
Okra is very versatile and can find a place in many dishes or be eaten in various ways.
We will talk about a few of the main uses of raw and cooked okra, but for sure, hundreds of recipes can use okra.
The okra mucilage can help in a few recipes like gumbo and stews because it will thicken the sauce while cooking.
Let’s get to some of the uses:
-Eaten raw or dipped in sauce. This can be a great snack for you, raw okra with other vegetables or a bit of cheese can be a healthy choice. Also, raw okra dipped in hummus can be tasty and healthy as well.
-Salads. It can work great in any type of salad, especially with a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to neutralize the sliminess of the okra.
-Roasted or grilled. This way of cooking okra will be the second healthiest way of eating okra after eating it raw, but it is way tastier and more enjoyable than eating raw okra. You can combine it with other roasted or grilled vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and so on for a great side dish.
-Crispy okra. Crispy okra can work as well as crispy zucchini works, the annoying part is that they are quite small, and it will take a longer time to cook them.
-Stew. Stew-type food like gumbo, curry, or a regular tomato sauce stew, will make great use of okra since, as I said before, the mucilage from okra will be neutralized by tomato sauce, and it will help at the same time to thicken the sauce. For this reason, if you visit a country that grows okra, this type of food will be quite popular.
Read Also: How To Thicken Carbonara Sauce?
How to choose okra?
If you plan to eat raw okra, it will help a lot if you choose good, fresh okra from the market; otherwise, it can be quite disappointing.
If you live in a country where the only way you can find okra is frozen, I recommend you not to eat it raw since it will not have the nice texture that fresh okra has.
I will give you some things to check before buying okra in order to make sure you get the best out of it.
-Color. Okra should be a bright green color without any discoloration or brown spots. Choose the ones that look the cleanest.
-Texture. If you want the best okra, you must pick it up and check if it’s firm. If it’s mushy, they are clearly bad. If it is way too firm, it can be a sign that they will not cook very well, so choose the ones that are firm enough but not rock solid.
-Size. The shorter ones are good for a quick recipe, and the longer ones are good for a stew where they will have enough time to cook. When it comes to eating them raw, the shorter ones should be a better choice.
The conclusion is that you can eat raw okra, but its sliminess can be off-putting for many people.
I hope you found your answer in this article and if you are still going to try raw okra, make sure you buy the best okra by checking all the things we talked about above.
Also, you can try to cook okra, especially if you want a nice stew.