What is okra and how is it prepared


The plant okra as a cure for various ailments

Okra plant Latin name Abelmoschus esculentus, is a special variety of vegetable that is not popular only for its taste, but also because of the numerous health benefits. Okra is indisputably one of the best cultures which must be included in your menu. Particularly pleasant is the fact that it fits perfectly with a number of dishes, either as an interesting addition to salads or as a main ingredient.

It benefits diabetics, because it normalizes and balances blood sugar, reduces and eliminates constipation, does not allow a sudden drop in immunity. Therefore, you should not be surprised by the fact that the okra is increasingly grown in the world, and is widely available. If you want to know about okra, what are its characteristics, why is it healthy and what dishes are made from it, below we will go into detail about this delicious vegetables.

What is okra and what does it look like?

When it comes to okra plant, it is a one-year plant. Its fruits are very tasty and we believe you will like them during summer months. At first glance, they look like peppers. With them you can prepare various dishes, and can also be preserved by drying method, sterilization, freezing and marinating. As such, okra is used as the natural emulsifier in the food industry.

The root of this vegetable is deep and wide, the branches are at the soil surface. When it is planted the seed develops young stems which are initially very soft and easily damaged so be careful. After a few weeks it strengthens and grows in height from 60 cm up to 2 meters.

On the plant next to the fruits, leaves develop, which are spirally arranged by the stem, and may be of different shapes. The flowers are white or okra yellow, and on it are small reddish spots. Since they are bipolar, they pollinate themselves and in them later develop fruits.

In some Asian countries, okra seeds are used as a substitute for coffee beans. In these areas, as well as around the world, this plant is much appreciated. And, how could it not be, when it is easy to grow it, although most credit for its popularity are its numerous medicinal properties.

Okra plant cultivation and planting

Okra is characterized by the fact that it bears fruit throughout the summer. It can also happen during fall, when you can also harvest it because the plant likes warm and sunny weather. The minimum temperature corresponding to it is around 15 to 17 degrees Celsius, while the highest is about 30 C.

Okra plant cannot stand the morning frosts, and it can slow down its growth. The same effect have an extremely high temperatures and drought periods. In this part of the year, regular watering is an absolute priority.

If you are interested in cultivating okra, it is very simple, but it is recommended to plant melon and cucumber next to it. First of all soil fertilization should be your top priority and the best choice for this is a natural fertilizer.

Planting takes place in late March or early April. The soil temperature at a depth of 5 cm must be higher than 15 degrees. The plant okra is planted so that the seeds are planted into the ground, and line spacing should be 60 cm up to one meter. Between the seeds you leave about 20 centimetres of space in order for the plant to properly grow.

The fruits can be expected by the end of May or early June. As we said, okra gives yield throughout the year so be sure to find them even in October. The plant bears fruit the size of about 8 cm, and most growers can expect weekly yield up to 20 tons per hectare.

For those interested in how to harvest okra, it is pretty easy, just gently swung and tear off the stems. Since it has many tiny hairs on it, it can cause mild allergic reactions in some people.

Okra vegetables after harvest quite quickly lose water, so proper storage and preservation is necessary. It is first kept at a temperature of about 10 degrees, after which it is packaged in foil. If you keep them in the refrigerator, keep in mind that it can stay there maximum of three days, so it is important to use it in time.

Medicinal properties and effects on the body

Many will wonder whether okra contains calories. Good news for all of you who look after their weight is that it belongs to a group of low calorie foods. 100 grams has only 33 calories, and in addition has no saturated fats nor cholesterol. In addition, the fruits of okra has a number of dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. That is why nutritionists often recommend this vegetable and it is very useful in diet programs.

Green beans contain vitamin A (12.5 percent), as well as flavonoids and antioxidants. Okra vegetables are known for their antioxidant effects, and often it is advised to people who have vision problems.

Fresh fruits are also a good source of folate (22 percent). Their role is especially important for pregnant women because it helps the proper development of the nervous system of infants.

The healing properties of okra would not be complete without vitamin C. Thanks to the consumption of vegetables, you will secure yourself as much as 36 percent of their recommended daily dose. This will help in strengthening the immune system and will avoid colds, cough and seasonal virus.

In addition, okra vegetable is an excellent source of much-needed minerals, among which the most important are potassium, iron, manganese and magnesium.
Top 10 reasons why you need to eat okra

Okra as a remedy is exceptional for many health problems, here are its most important health benefits:

Facilitates digestion

As mentioned earlier, it is rich in dietary fibre and okra helps regulate digestion. This is its special role that we want to put in the first place, it accelerates metabolism. Helps lazy intestines, will stimulate digestion and soften the stool.

In addition to the above, the use of okra removes harmful and accumulated matter from the intestines.

A beneficial effect on the stomach

People who are diagnosed with an ulcer and gastritis, in particular will be delighted by the fact that okra as a cure for stomach is very beneficial because it has a calming effect. It effectively neutralizes the strongest acids, and it is interesting that this vegetable forms a protective layer on the walls of the stomach. Thus, accelerating the healing of peptic ulcers and their removal.

It helps people with diabetes

The advantages of its use are many and proved to be useful in those who suffer from diabetes. Just like kiwi fruit, okra vegetables effectively stabilize glucose levels, and is often said to act like insulin.

Eugenol, a special type of fibre that is located in it, balances blood sugar and stops its growth by affecting its absorption in the intestinal tract. Diabetic patients are recommended to drink gentle okra tea that is extremely effective.

It is very useful during pregnancy and helps fetus development

High amounts of folate and nutritional value of this vegetable has a tremendous value when it comes to pregnant women. Specifically, it will help the proper development of the brain and nervous system of the fetus. In traditional culture, it is known that this plant prevents miscarriage. Above all, okra during pregnancy provides much needed amounts of vitamins A and C. In addition, it will ensure that pregnant women receive potassium, magnesium and iron in sufficient measures.

It strengthens bones and muscles

Besides these minerals, okra plant contains vitamin K, which is an important factor for blood clotting. At the same time, combined with folate maintains and increases bone density, which can prevent many diseases, among which osteoporosis is common.

Effective against respiratory diseases

Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects are the main advantages of okra when it comes to the fight against respiratory diseases. Its fruits and flowers and leaves are a great ally for the treatment of bronchitis and pneumonia. Therefore, it is useful to drink tea from okra, because it prevents attacks of suffocation and cleans the bronchi of the accumulated secretions.

Reduces the risk of colon cancer

Not only can the okra plant be considered useful in the elimination of harmful substances from the intestines, it is also a very important factor when it comes to the protection of the malignant diseases. Since it removes free radicals from the digestive tract, it reduces the risk of colon cancer significantly. Those who are already sick, necessarily need to prepare dishes of okra, as it will prevent further mutation of cancer cells.

An excellent fighter against anaemia

Iron and potassium are the key players in the fight against anaemia. If consumed, such as salad of okra, the body will get the required amount of these minerals. After all, scientific research has confirmed that okra promotes the formation of haemoglobin, blood coagulation and red blood cell production.

Great natural cure for potency

Increases sexual desire in both men and women, but it can be said that the okra as an aphrodisiac is exceptional. If you ask the elderly about this plant, often you will hear that is a traditional remedy for potency. In addition, it is excellent for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases in a natural way, and is useful against syphilis and gonorrhoea. Finally, it should be said that it is a great help against excessive menstrual bleeding.

Lowers blood cholesterol levels and keeps the health of the heart

The content of fibre and pectin in okra helps to lower levels of blood lipids. As a result, it is recommended for the sake of preventing atherosclerosis and many other diseases of the heart.

Make an okra tea; an extremely healing potion

Tea made from okra, which we have mentioned several times, is the most common product of this plant. It is made from the dried parts of several varieties of vegetables and as such can be consumed always. Its use is wide, but also has been used for children, digestive problems and for reducing blood sugar. Further, it is also used for the treatment of gastritis and Helicobacter.

Most importantly, okra has no contraindications nor side effects. On the contrary, the use of tea bring the much needed minerals and vitamins. Feel free to drink it every day, because it is very nutritious and has a pleasant flavour.

If you want to know how to make okra tea, all you have to do is:
  • One teaspoon of this mixture leave overnight to stand in 2 dl of water. In the morning strain it and drink on an empty stomach, with no added sugar.

Its effect is far more effective if it is added to the tincture of okra.
  • Only 10 to 15 drops of this medicinal solution drink twice a day with tea before each meal.

People with stomach problems can take it in the afternoon and evening before bedtime, with prior consultation with a physician. Already after the first use visible means of relief and improvements are present, and other symptoms disappear after two days.

Okra dishes that you must try

Certainly among the most famous dishes of okra, bey’s soup is well known. For its preparation you need:
  • 250g of chicken meat
  • 100 grams of carrots
  • 50g of parsley leaves
  • 50 grams of celery root
  • 50g of flour
  • 50g of butter
  • 15 grams of okra
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 50 grams of cream
  • some lemon juice
  • salt, pepper and seasoning

Preparation:

Wash the meat and cook the celery root and seasonings according to your preference and taste. When cooked, strain it and remove the bones and then chop into small pieces. Save the water that was used for cooking.

In a pan add the butter and melt it over low heat. Then add the flour to make a roux. In a pot pour the broth in which the meat was cooked and leave on medium heat. Let it cook for about 15 minutes.

Cut the carrots, celery and parsley and add it to the pot. When soup is clear and thick, strain it and add the meat and cook some more.

In a separate pan cook the lemon juice and okra and add it to your meal with egg yolk and cream. When bey's soup is ready you can add a little pepper in order to give it a better taste.

How is okra prepared without meat?

Okra recipes without meat are the most wanted ones. They are especially popular with people who practice a vegetarian diet.

To prepare this dish you will need:
  • 100 mL of sunflower oil
  • 8 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 800 grams of fresh okra
  • 6 dl of water
  • Teaspoon of red pepper
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

In a saucepan heat the oil and then add garlic. Fry gently on the fire. Pour the tomato puree and gently mix. Fresh tomatoes, cut into cubes and put them in a mixture and fry briefly. Then pour 6 dl of hot water, add salt and pepper as you like, as well as a teaspoon of red pepper.

Cook until it starts to boil and then add cleaned okra. Food is necessary to be left on medium heat to simmer for more than 35 minutes. In addition you can also serve cooked rice with it.

A phenomenal okra salad

During hot summer days it is an ideal refreshing meal that is very easy to make. For the salad you need the following ingredients:
  • 200 grams of tiny okra
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 5 roasted peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons of Mediterranean spices
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

Fresh okra is first washed and cleaned under running water. Grease pan with olive oil and warm it. Add vegetables and fry between 5 and 10 minutes until it takes on a little darker colour. Then remove from heat and leave it to cool.

Tomato and roasted red pepper, cut into pieces or cubes, and add them to a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix olive oil, Mediterranean seasoning and two cloves of mashed garlic. Season with pepper as you like. All mix with vegetables and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Okra salad is a great match with white cheese or feta cheese.

Where to get okra and what is the price

Price of okra is around 3 dollars per kilogram, and it can be purchased in all markets during the late spring and summer months. In addition, it is available as frozen in most of the better-equipped shops, where you can buy it for an almost identical sum of money. Again, we note that only fresh okra has all of these healing properties, and frozen vegetables cannot constitute as a replacement.

For those who want to plant okra in their gardens, its seeds are rather cheap and costs about 1.50 dollars (package 5 grams). It is best to inquire in detail about everything in agricultural pharmacies.

Since some varieties of plants are treated with insecticides and pesticides, it is necessary to thoroughly wash the vegetables under cold running water. In this way you will remove the dirt, earth and all possible chemicals.

We hope that you found out about the okra plant, and how it is used and stored through many medicinal recipes. It is recommended for diabetics, but also to all others who care about their health. If you liked the article, share it with your friends.

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