When and How To Harvest Okra For its Best Potential

There are numerous causes so as to add okra crops to your backyard. Okra flowers are stunning and appeal to pollinators. Whereas okra flowers are self-pollinating, the attraction of pollinators to your backyard can profit crops close by. The pods are a staple in southern cooking. Are you able to even name it gumbo with out the inclusion of okra pods?

They really thrive in scorching climate, which makes them nice producers in the summertime backyard throughout hotter climates. There’s a catch, nevertheless. Since okra might be such a prolific producer, it’s necessary to know when to choose okra from its stems. Ready too lengthy can lead to a troublesome and inedible pod. 

One other good thing about figuring out when to reap okra is that the extra usually that you simply harvest, the extra your plant will produce. Okra crops attain maturity inside 50-75 days after transplant. The crops can hold producing pods for a minimum of 10-12 weeks. It’s attainable to hold okra crops flowering and producing fruit lengthy into the rising season. 

In case you prune okra crops again after the summer time harvest slows, it will lead to a second fall crop. At this level, you could possibly depart some pods to totally mature and nearly dry out on the plant for those who want to save seeds for the next yr. You might additionally harvest okra once more within the fall.  

Because you’ll probably have an abundance of okra, along with figuring out when to choose okra, you’ll additionally must know the way to harvest okra correctly. Selecting okra is usually a ache as a result of their stiff hairs which have been recognized to trigger pores and skin irritation. Lastly, you’ll must know the easiest way to retailer okra to maximise your harvest. Learn on as we cowl all of those subjects! 

When to Choose Okra

Harvest okra pods when they’re 2-3 inches lengthy and vibrant in shade.

As talked about above, okra crops mature in about 50-65 days. When the crops attain maturity, they are going to then start flowering. Okra flowers are stunning, teacup-shaped, and resemble hibiscus flowers as a result of they’re associated to hibiscus. 

Okra flowers are edible too. If you end up with extra okra than you may deal with, it’s possible you’ll wish to start harvesting okra flowers earlier than they flip into pods and eat these too! 

Every flower lasts for a couple of day on the okra plant earlier than it begins to die again and switch into an okra pod. These flowers are self-pollinating, in order that they don’t require the help of pollinators to provide high quality pods, however they nonetheless appeal to all of them the identical.

This could profit close by crops that do want pollinators to provide. Pods will seem roughly 4-5 days after the flowers. 

As soon as the pods attain 2-3 inches lengthy and are vibrant in shade, then it’s time to reap okra! Selecting okra pods at this younger stage will be sure that they continue to be tender. The colour can range relying on which cultivar you’ve chosen to develop. An okra plant can come in several shades of inexperienced, purple, and even pink. 

It’s necessary to reap okra pods each few days to encourage the plant to proceed to provide all through the rising season. As soon as pods develop too giant, they develop into robust and inedible. These bigger pods might be left on the plant to dry for those who’d like to avoid wasting seeds for the next season. 

Because the summer time winds down and the harvest begins to gradual, you may prune the okra plant again to a peak of between 6-12 inches. It will encourage new development and a second fall crop.

How one can Harvest Okra

Close-up of a man's hand cutting a ripe okra pod in the garden with a sharp knife. The plant has an upright pale green stem with fine spiny hairs, and broad lobed leaves. The pod is long, ribbed, bright green.
When harvesting okra, it’s necessary to put on gloves and minimize the stem simply above the cap with a pointy knife.

On the floor, harvesting okra could look like a easy job, however there may be some warning available. Okra crops have stiff hairs often known as setulose, which may trigger pores and skin irritation. These effective protrusions might be discovered on pods, stems, and even okra leaves. For that reason, all the time put on gloves and lengthy sleeves or a protracted sleeved-shirt whereas harvesting okra to keep away from direct contact with the pores and skin. 

Not solely is it good to put on gloves whenever you’re harvesting okra, it’s additionally a good suggestion to convey a basket with you to move your harvest with the intention to deal with the pods as little as attainable. There are spineless varieties, however even these could have some setulose development. 

When selecting okra, make sure you make the most of a pointy knife or pruning shears to chop the stem simply above the cap in a single easy movement. This sharp knife can even assist restrict your contact with the setulose. 

How one can Retailer Okra

Close-up of three jars of pickled okra with garlic and pepper. Banks stand on a concrete surface with rusty spots. The jars are filled with long, ribbed, pale green okra pods.
Determine the way to devour the okra after harvest, hold dry within the fridge, or pickle in jars for long-term storage.

After you’re executed harvesting okra pods, it’s time to determine the way you’d prefer to devour it. It will inform you which of them of the preservation strategies will swimsuit you finest. In case you intend to eat it shortly after harvesting okra, it’s finest to retailer it dry within the crisper drawer of your fridge. The pods will final a number of days this fashion however ought to be consumed pretty rapidly. 

After selecting okra, the pods are liable to mould and decay, so don’t wash them till simply earlier than cooking them. Those that eat okra pods know their slimy texture. Whereas this may be off-putting to some, the pods are a key ingredient in gumbo as they act as a thickening agent. These pods can be utilized to thicken different soups and stews in the identical manner. 

Okra’s pods are sometimes left entire and eaten breaded and deep-fried. They’re additionally typically pickled to increase the shelf lifetime of a harvest even additional. Pickled okra pods make a tasty addition to a charcuterie plate! Some select to smoke the okra pods earlier than pickling to provide them one other layer of taste. 

In case you intend to retailer okra pods for the lengthy haul, take into account freezing them. Whenever you freeze okra, it is not going to have the identical texture as soon as it thaws. Nonetheless, the pods will nonetheless have the identical thickening properties and can be utilized in soups and stews like contemporary okra pods. For the highest quality, devour okra from the freezer inside one yr.

Varieties of Okra

Now, we’ll cowl a few of the most typical forms of okra you may embrace in your summer time backyard. These are each spiny and spineless varieties, in addition to these tailored to completely different climates. 

Clemson Spineless Okra

Close-up of a growing Clemson Spineless Okra in a sunny garden. It is a variety that can tolerate cooler temperatures and produces semi-thornless green pods. The leaves are large, lobed, green. A large yellowish-cream funnel-shaped flower with a dark purple center and an oblong peduncle with stamens.
Clemson Spineless Okra can tolerate cooler temperatures, has inexperienced leaves, and produces semi-spineless inexperienced pods.

This okra was developed at Clemson College in 1980. Clemson spineless is an okra that may deal with cooler temperatures than others and usually produces earlier.

It does respect scorching climate, as all okra does as properly. Clemson okra leaves are inexperienced, and whenever you harvest okra from this plant, you’ll have semi-spineless inexperienced pods.

Pink Burgundy Okra

Top view, close-up of a flowering Red Burgundy Okra plant with a ripe pod in a sunny garden. Red Burgundy Okra has dark crimson stems, fruits and leaves. Its pod is also dark crimson, long, ribbed with a tapered tip. The flower is large, yellow with a dark purple center.
Pink Burgundy Okra is a extremely productive plant with deep crimson stems, fruits, and leaves.

If you wish to add a splash of shade to your backyard, strive planting Pink Burgundy Okra seed within the floor this summer time. All components of this plant are deep crimson – stem, fruit, and leaves.

Different pink varieties could not proceed producing by a number of seasons, however Pink Burgundy Okra may be very productive, with the flavour and slimy texture typical to okra.

Cow Horn Okra    

Close-up of a ripe Cow Horn okra pod among green lobed foliage. The pod is large, long, narrow, ribbed, pale green in color, with a twisted tip resembling a horn.
Cow Horn Okra produces distinctive curled pods with spines, requiring cautious harvesting with a pointy knife.

Possibly you need solely essentially the most attention-grabbing crops in your backyard. If you wish to strive producing Cow Horn okra, you’ll have a harvest of tender pods that curl from the stem.

Cow Horn has fruit that curls and might develop as much as 14 inches lengthy. They’ve spines, so keep in mind to reap your crop with care and a pointy knife!

Emerald Heirloom Okra

Close-up of the maturing pods of Emerald Heirloom Okra among large, dark green, lobed foliage. The pods are straight, elongated, ribbed, dark green.
Emerald Heirloom Okra produces straight, ribboned pods which are nice for cooking.

The tender pods of Emerald have been cultivated in 1950 by Campbell’s Soup Firm. Every plant grows a stem that may attain 8 toes in peak, shading components of the backyard that may’t deal with the warmth.

The straight however ribboned fruit you harvest from the plant is superb for cooking, as that’s what it was developed for! Seeds of this plant aren’t laborious to search out on-line too. 

Silver Queen Okra

Close-up of the maturing Silver Queen Okra pods against the sky in the garden. The plant has large, lobed, bright green leaves with serrated edges. The pods are long, narrow, and creamy white in color.
Silver Queen Okra has fruit that grows to a couple inches in about 80 days, making it excellent for lengthy heat seasons.

In case you’re on the hunt for seeds you could develop within the floor by a protracted summer time season, Silver Queen is a superb crop for you.

The plant’s fruit grows to a couple inches in about 80 days, excellent for lengthy heat seasons. The pods are creamy white at their tops; you may freeze these simply as you could possibly different varieties. 

Go Large Okra

Close-up of a Go Big Okra pod in a sunny garden against a blurred background. The pod is large, long, ribbed, dark green in color, slightly hairy.
Go Large seeds produce giant okra pods which are simply as scrumptious and appropriate for decorative or culinary use.

Let’s say you wish to harvest okra inside a few months, and whenever you do harvest okra, you need it to be huge.

Go Large seeds will make it easier to produce a crop of okra with as much as 7-inch lengthy pods. They’re simply as scrumptious as different okras and work each in decorative and culinary settings. 

Jing Orange Okra

Top view, close-up of a Jing Orange Okra plant in the garden. The plant has upright red stems covered with green lobed leaves with red veins. The plant produces large, long, narrow, ribbed, bright red pods.
Pink Chinese language heirloom okra seeds are simple to search out, producing vibrant pink pods.

Whereas the seed of this plant is touted as uncommon, it’s simple to search out! This Chinese language heirloom will not be truly orange; as an alternative, it’s a vibrant pink pod that’s prepared in about 60 days. Whenever you harvest okra from one in all these crops, the pods shall be roughly 3 to 4 inches lengthy. 

Though some pink varieties are dwarf crops, this one can attain 6 toes.

Star of David Okra

Close-up of ripe pods of the Star of David Okra plant on a wooden table. The pods are plump, slightly elongated, ribbed, pale green in color.
Develop Star of David for giant, fats pods which are over an inch in diameter.

Whenever you harvest okra, would you like huge, fats pods? Attempt Star of David! This Mediterranean plant grows purplish leaves on stems that develop 7 toes or extra. The pods are over an inch in diameter and kind inside 75 days. 

The plant is best for long-season okra gardeners; additional care ought to be taken when harvesting these. They’re additional spiny however fairly scrumptious. Seed for this plant is accessible at various seed-saving distributors.    

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

Q: How huge ought to okra get earlier than selecting?

A: Okra pods ought to be picked once they attain between 2-3 inches lengthy.

Q: What to do with okra after selecting?

A: Okra pods might be eaten contemporary, pickled, or frozen for future use. After harvesting okra pods, they don’t final very lengthy within the fridge. It’s finest to devour the pods shortly after selecting or in any other case protect them. 

Q: What shade ought to okra be when picked?

A: That each one is determined by the variability! Some okra cultivars are inexperienced when mature, some pods are purple, and a few are even pink. 

Q: How have you learnt if okra is just too huge?

A: When okra pods develop too huge, they are going to develop into robust with a woody texture. 

Q: What does ripe okra seem like?

A: Ripe okra pods are about 2-3 inches lengthy and shall be vibrant in shade. The colour will rely on which selection you might be rising. Okra pods typically attain maturity about 5 days after the flowers bloom. 

Q: Do you freeze contemporary okra?

A: Okra pods deal with freezing exceptionally properly. Particularly for those who’re going to make use of pods later in a stew or gumbo, pods might be frozen entire or chopped into rounds. 

Q: What number of occasions can okra be harvested?

A: Pods kind rapidly throughout peak season and might be harvested each 2-3 days. 

Q: Do you wash okra after selecting?

A: Storing moist okra pods leaves them vulnerable to mould and decay. For that reason, solely wash every okra pod proper earlier than you’re going to eat it. In any other case, your okra pod harvest ought to be saved dry. 

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings