Have you ever been asked, “what does okra taste like” and you just didn’t know how to answer? Perhaps all you could remember was that slimy texture you always got from cooking it. Either way, you’re in good hands.
Okra is a delicious and tasty dish, and it can be paired with other foods like dried apricots, oregano, lemon salt, lamb, and beef, to mention but a few.
Here’s a close look at what it tastes like, the healthiest ways to eat okra, its nutritional benefits, and everything else.
What is okra?
Okra, sometimes called gumbo or ladies fingers, is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It’s from the same family as the hollyhock rose of Sharon & hibiscus and has edible green seed pods.
Its immature pods are widely used for making soups, fried vegetables, and stews. Although low in calories, okra is rich in nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, and many more.
Overall, you can either fry, roast, can, or boil okra for food.
What is the actual taste of okra?
Its actual taste is between mild, sweet, and grassy. Also, when you prepare okra quickly, it gives off a crunchy taste, and when it’s cooked very slowly, you can expect a very tender, juicy, and slimy texture.
In the case of fried okra, it tastes almost like eggplant or green beans and has a fibrous and tender texture.
What is the slime in okra?
Okra has one unique characteristic, and that’s its slimy texture. Since its pods are mucilaginous, it gives off a gooey mouthfeel when prepared.
Its mucilage content consists of soluble fiber that’s easy to digest and aids detoxification. If you like your okra to be extra-slimy, cook it slowly on low heat.
Nutritional value of okra per 100g
Okra is a perennial flowering plant. Earlier on, the question “what does okra taste like” was answered, and here you’ll learn some of the nutrients that can be found in this plant.
Below is its nutritional value for 100 grams:
- Calories: 33
- Total fat: 0.2grams
- Protein: 1.9grams
- Carbohydrate: 7grams
- Potassium: 299grams
- Magnesium: 14grams
- Vitamin C: 38%
- Sodium: 7grams
- Vitamin A: 14%
- Vitamin B6: 10%
- Calcium: 0.08
- Iron: 3%
How to cook okra: A step-by-step guide
You’ll agree that one of the best ways to answer “what does okra taste like” is by learning how to cook it yourself. If you’ve never attempted it now, here’s another opportunity to cook it to your taste. Follow the guide below.
- Rinse the okra under cold water.
- Cut off the ends of the okra pods.
- Slice the okra into pieces that are 1-2 inches long.
- Place the okra in a cooking pot or pan.
- Add enough water to cover the okra.
- Add salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the okra is tender.
- Drain the water and serve the okra hot. You can also fry, roast, or grill okra.
To fry okra: Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the sliced okra and cook for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
To roast okra: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the okra on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until tender.
To grill okra: Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the okra on the grill and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until tender.
5 surprising health benefits of eating okra
Okra is a nutrient-rich vegetable that offers a variety of health benefits. This low-calorie vegetable is an excellent fiber, vitamin, and mineral source. It also contains antioxidants and phytochemicals that may boost your health in many ways.
Okra can be eaten cooked or raw. And it can be used in salads, stews mixed with beef, or as a crunchy addition to sandwiches and wraps.
Here are some science-backed health benefits of okra.
1. It may improve digestive health
Okra is a good source of fiber, which is essential for proper digestion. Fiber adds bulk to stools and helps food move through the digestive tract more efficiently. This can help relieve constipation and other digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In addition, the prebiotic effects of okra may promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. This beneficial bacteria is important for a healthy digestive system and overall immunity.
2. May boost heart health
The fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in okra may help protect your heart. For instance, the soluble fiber in okra can help lower cholesterol levels by binding to LDL (bad) cholesterol and removing it from the body.
What’s more, the potassium in okra can help reduce blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and countering the effects of sodium. Additionally, the magnesium content of okra has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
3. May promote healthy skin and hair
Okra is also rich in vitamins A and C, which are important for healthy skin and hair. Vitamin A helps keep skin cells hydrated and prevents dryness, while vitamin C plays a role in collagen production.
Collagen is a protein that gives your skin elasticity and strength. It also helps heal wounds and repair damaged tissue.
Okra may also be beneficial for hair health due to its high biotin content. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that’s essential for the growth of new hair cells. Biotin deficiencies can lead to hair loss, so getting enough from foods like okra may help prevent this issue.
4. May boost immunity
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in okra may also help boost your immune system. For instance, vitamin C is essential for the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infection.
What’s more, the zinc content of okra has been linked to a stronger immune response. Additionally, the powerful antioxidants in okra may help protect your cells from damage and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
5. May support diabetes management
Okra may also be beneficial for people with diabetes. This is due to its low glycemic index (GI), which means it doesn’t cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels.
In addition, the fiber in okra can help slow the absorption of sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. This function can help keep blood sugar levels under control and prevent complications associated with diabetes.
Can you eat okra when pregnant?
Yes, you can. Okra contains high amounts of folate and can help a pregnant woman meet her daily dose of it. Folate helps in preventing neural tube defects in pregnant women, and 100g of okra can provide up to 15% of folate daily need.
Additionally, okra water improves fertility and libido and aids ovulation and conception.
Side effects of eating okra
Though okra is generally safe to eat, there are a few potential side effects to be aware of. The biggest issue with okra is its slimy texture. Some people find this texture unpleasant, and it can also make cooking okra more difficult.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to okra. Symptoms of an allergy may include itching, swelling, and trouble breathing.
- Digestive issues: Okra is a high-fiber food. It can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea in some people.
- Kidney stones: Okra contains oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
- Interference with blood sugar control: Okra may interfere with blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
- Pesticide residue: Okra may contain pesticide residue if not grown organically. Therefore, it could be harmful to your health.
Can you eat raw okra?
Yes, you can. Okra as a plant is edible, and you can eat its leaves raw in salads.
Why does okra make you poop?
Because it aids digestion. Okra has mucilaginous fiber that prevents digestive issues like constipation and helps food move through your digestive tract more freely. It is a detoxifier and can help achieve cholesterol balance.
Is okra a fruit or a vegetable?
Okra is a fruit. It has edible seed pods, but it’s primarily used as a vegetable.
Okra is a plant that has an abundance of mucilage in its pods. When sliced in strands, it becomes slimy, and while some people enjoy this texture, others don’t. The fruit of the okra plant is a dry dehiscent fruit that thrives in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions.
Okra is good for several things, but it also has side effects when consumed unrestrained. The simplest answer you could ever give for “what does okra taste like” would be sweet and grassy.
Thank you for reading.
Did you enjoy reading this? See other food guides here on Cheffist.