The tomatoes in my garden bit the dust weeks ago. I should really pull up the stakes and plants. The pepper plants are still alive, and every now and then grow a new leaf, but never got taller than 8 inches, and never produced a fruit. But the okra, well, the okra is awesome. Sure, it’s not the towering tree I’ve seen in some gardens, but it’s producing enough pods that I pick three or four every other day, and some of them are getting a bit large.
The thing about okra is that they grow and grow until they turn woody, but you don’t want them to get much bigger than 4 inches or so. Much bigger, and they begin to get tough and fibrous – just not tasty. But we left our plants alone for a few days, and when I returned, I had nearly 8 pods that were at least 8 inches long. I was sure I would have to toss them, but Husband took a bite and said “No, those are good!” Awesome.
Up until now I’ve been sticking the okra into the juice of an eaten pickled okra jar. We just weren’t getting enough okra to save for cooking. But these giants? These giants are in the fridge awaiting the fryer. Fried okra is the best okra. People tend to shy away from okra because of its slimy-when-cooked nature, but when it’s fried, there’s no slime. I suppose you could cook it in a gumbo and use that slime to your advantage as a thickener, but fried okra is still going to be king of the okra dishes.
So tonight we’re living it up southern style with fried okra and sausage, I may even throw some green beans and bacon in for good measure. Corn bread? Hey, I didn’t say it was light. I’ll let you know how it turns out.