Season: June to October

Description: Okra provides vitamin A, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Vitamin A helps maintain eye health. Okra is also a source of vitamin K, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Vitamin K, calcium and magnesium help build and maintain strong bones, and potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure. Okra is also a source of folate, which may reduce your risk of heart disease. Eating foods with folate before pregnancy helps lower the risk of delivering a baby with neural tube defects.

Vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Folate

Selection: Pods that are deep green and not woody. Slightly push tip of okra over with your finger. If it flexes and does not break this usually means the okra is not woody.

Storing: In a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel and placed inside a perforated plastic bag. Okra can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. For longer storage, blanch the okra whole and freeze.

Preparation: Clean okra, trim the stem and tip off.

Serving: Grill or roast by tossing okra with enough olive oil to coat the pods, then grill each side on medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Braise okra after trimming the caps and tips. Cut pods into thick slices and add to soups and stews. Do not use cast iron, aluminum or exposed copper pots for cooking okra because okra cooked in those containers will turn black.

Recipes containing Okra: