Also known as “ladies fingers” or “bhindi,” okra a flowering plant that contains edible green seed pods. It’s one of the more lesser known plant varieties of the world, but one that offers a ton of amazing health benefits.
Because okra is loaded with potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium, it contains more vitamins and minerals than many other foods. It has little calories, and a lot of fiber, and it might even be powerful enough to use as a tool to keep blood sugar at bay in people with diabetes, according to the CDC.
We can go on and on about okra’s nutritional benefits—there are plenty to go around—but the most important thing to keep in mind is how you go about eating the okra.
Many people use okra in soups, stews, and gumbo due to the thickening gel inside okra. It thickens up soups and make them more creamy, delicious, and healthy than others.
Another great way to add it to your diet is to make pickled okra. Not only does this make the taste more flavorful (especially if you like that briny flavor), as many find it to have somewhat of an odd taste and texture. It makes the taste less biter and the peel softer as well. There are easy recipes all over the internet on how to pickle your okra!
Some prefer the taste of dehydrated okra pods. You can find these in some grocery stores, or you can dry out okra pods yourself with a dehydrator and seasoning them with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you’d like. This gives it more of a crunchy texture, so it feels more snack-like.
As you can see, there are several ways to go about eating okra, but if you really want to reap its health benefits, you’ll want to try out soaking your okra.
Here’s how to do it: Place okra pods in a pot of water and let it soak in there overnight. Over the course of a few hours, the nutrients in the skin and seed pods will get absorbed into the water.
Once it’s done soaking, you can drink the water—instead of eating the actual seeds! This is another great way to consume it for those who don’t like the taste of okra. Plus, it takes out of all the hard work of finding a recipe to make and cooking with it.
Another way to make okra water is to cut the okra into a few thin slices (instead of soaking the entire pods whole) and let it soak. Just note that this might create a slightly more bitter flavor, but again, the taste of okra is subjective.
That’s not to say you have to drink the okra water straight up in a glass. For example, you could try adding it to your smoothies if you’re still not loving the taste (with all the fruit in there you probably won’t even taste it!).
What do you think—would you ever drink okra, or do you like the taste of it? How do you usually prepare okra?