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What should I look for when I shop for okra?

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When you head to the store to pick up some fresh okra, look for bright green fruit pods that are less than 4 inches long, free from bruising, and firm to the touch.

When you cut it, okra releases a sticky substance. It's key for thickening soups, gumbos, and stews. That stickiness can be a turnoff, though; some can't get past the idea that okra is "slimy." Quick-cooking or dry-cooking it can get rid of that. Adding vinegar or other acidic ingredients (tomatoes, for example), can help, too.

Okra can be prepared in a variety of ways, in many different dishes, or by itself. One healthy choice would be to light-fry it (without the breading and minus the bacon grease), or sauté it with onions and tomatoes. You could also have it raw, pickled, roasted, or steamed.

SOURCES:

UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment: "Okra: Abelmoschus esculentus."

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: "Okra."

City of Birmingham, Alabama: "Recipes."

Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences: "The Effect of Abelmoschus Esculentus on Blood Levels of Glucose in Diabetes Mellitus."

CDC: "National Diabetes Statistics Report," "Diabetes Meal Planning," "What is Diabetes," "Type 2 Diabetes."

Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies: "A review on: Diabetes and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)."

Journal of Chiropractic Medicine: "Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses."

Cell Journal: "Okra (Abelmoscus esculentus) Improved Islets Structure, and Down-Regulated PPARs Gene Expression in Pancreas of High-Fat Diet and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats."

National Institute on Aging: "Important Nutrients to Know: Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats."

Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Micronutrient Information Center: "Fiber."

U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (via eatfresh.org): "Okra."

Arizona Department of Health Services: Arizona Health Zone: "Sauteed Okra with Onions and Tomatoes," "Lite Fried Okra."

North Carolina Cooperative Extension: "Food of the Month -- Okra."

Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine: "Therapeutic effect of okra extract on gestational diabetes mellitus rats induced by streptozotocin."

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman on May 1, 2020

SOURCES:

UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment: "Okra: Abelmoschus esculentus."

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: "Okra."

City of Birmingham, Alabama: "Recipes."

Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences: "The Effect of Abelmoschus Esculentus on Blood Levels of Glucose in Diabetes Mellitus."

CDC: "National Diabetes Statistics Report," "Diabetes Meal Planning," "What is Diabetes," "Type 2 Diabetes."

Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies: "A review on: Diabetes and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)."

Journal of Chiropractic Medicine: "Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses."

Cell Journal: "Okra (Abelmoscus esculentus) Improved Islets Structure, and Down-Regulated PPARs Gene Expression in Pancreas of High-Fat Diet and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats."

National Institute on Aging: "Important Nutrients to Know: Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats."

Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Micronutrient Information Center: "Fiber."

U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (via eatfresh.org): "Okra."

Arizona Department of Health Services: Arizona Health Zone: "Sauteed Okra with Onions and Tomatoes," "Lite Fried Okra."

North Carolina Cooperative Extension: "Food of the Month -- Okra."

Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine: "Therapeutic effect of okra extract on gestational diabetes mellitus rats induced by streptozotocin."

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman on May 1, 2020

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