Is Okra Fruit or Vegetable? Surprising Garden facts


Okra, A very common vegetable, we all know it. Most of us like it. I personally like it fried but you can have it boiled or even blanched. It’s green It’s healthy. First of all, I must admit that I am not a very lover of green in plates, I am a Junk food guy. But Okra is one my favorite. In today’s discussion, I’ll try to find out- Is Okra a fruit or vegetable?

Other names of Okra

Okra is also known as gumbo, Ladyfinger or Bhindi.  The scientific name of Okra is Abelmoschus esculentus. It is a herbaceous hairy annual plant of the mallow family known as –Malvaceae. It is the same family in which a Hibiscus plant belongs.

is-okra-fruit-or-vegetable

Is Okra a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Biologically, Okra is a fruit but culinary it is a very delicious vegetable. We all considered it vegetable but technically it is a fruit. Okra grows from beautiful Yellow-red in middle/or purple-white flowers. Basically, It is a pod-like structure that supports the growth of the seeds.

Proof for Okra is Vegetable or fruit

First of all, let me tell you, no matter what is the scientific category for Okra if you can cook it, it will be considered as a vegetable.

To demonstrate the relation of okra with a fruit and vegetable, I have included an activity. I hope you will like it.

  • Check an Okra plant carefully. You will find several Yellow with red center flowers.
  • These flowers contain both male and female gametes. These are the reproductive parts of the plant.
  • If you remove the petals carefully, you can see the male gametes containing the anther on the sides and the pollen tube in the middle of the flower. The parts are responsible for fertilization.
  • In a healthy flower after successful fertilization, you see the okra developing as a small conical fruit initially.
  •  Just after 4 to 6 days this okra is fully ready for harvesting.
  • Now pick those with at least length of four fingers. You should hold the okra in your hand, and if it fits in your palm it is good to harvest.
  • I know nothing discussed above can prove if it is a vegetable or fruit. But If you understand the fertilization and development of fruit just as in the case of okra.
  • Then you can easily conclude that an Okra is a fruit by nature and in our plates, it is a delicious vegetable.

Some Interesting facts about Okra

okra-flower-fruit

Okra is a very interesting vegetable or fruit- whatever you may call it. There are a lot of interesting facts about okra, that we don’t know. I am gonna disclose few of them, if you know more then please let me know?

  1. Do you know, Okra leaves contain cyanide? Yes, the very poisonous substance that can kill anyone. But you should not worry about it. Actually, the presence of natural cyanide is very common in plants, sometimes we don’t even know before consuming it. just boiling the leaves for five minutes can easily neutralize the poison and make it completely harmless.
  2. The Okra can produce slime, yes true slime. It may look ziggy but believe me it’s very healthy for our tummy. Actually, it is the mucilage that forms the slimy substance. In nature, it is meant to protect the seed-pods from drying. In diet, it can be a good alternative for soluble roughage, good for digestion.
  3. Okra can look like cylindrical with a conical tip. Actually, It is not cylindrical. It is a pentagonal structure with five separate chambers for seeds.
  4. You may have seen many small hair-like structures over the okra. Do you know, what is it? or what is it used for? These tiny hairs are actually the guards for insect attack. It is a natural technique of protection that many plants use.

Best Time to grow Okra

Okra love heat. Actually, April and May is the best time to grow okra worldwide. In fact, you can grow okra whenever the temperature rises above 25-30 degree Celsius.

The best time to commercially grow okra is the month of February. Seeding okra at the end of February will fruit in the month of April till August. Most commercial farmers choose this time for best cultivation and high market price.

Okra needs a high temperature to bloom and fruit. The best temperature to grow okra plant is between 30 – 38-degree Celsius. Also, you should maintain enough moisture in the soil, to prevent heat stroke and burning of leaves. You should care about the plants and prevent overwatering to control pets infestation.

Can I grow okra in containers?

yes, you can easily grow okra in containers. Growing okra in a container is very easy. The only care is for pot or container size. A bigger container of at least 12 inches is always preferable for growing okra.

The soil in the container should be light. You can add perlite or cocopeat to the potting soil.

The Best Soil mix for okra is  – 35 % garden soil. Black soil is preferable. 25%  vermicompost or any good quality compost, 25 % cocopeat or even treated sawdust or dried husk can be used (Additional anti-fungal powder should be used to prevent the fungal attack in this case). Add Small amount of Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus & Epsom salt in the soil, The ratio will be  – 2.5%,5%,5%,2.5%.

For Potassium and phosphorus, you can use chemical fertilizer or you can use dried mustard cake powder and wood ash for this purpose. The added calcium you can use bone meal or even limestone powder.

What type of vegetable is okra?– Okra is a green vegetable. It is a pod that contains seed. You can let it grow or you can cook and eat it.  It is an annual vegetable. you can fry it, boil it or even stew it- It looks good, and you will feel good after consuming it.

The plant of okra can be tall as well as short. It actually depends on the variety. There are lots of okra variety that you can easily buy and grow even in your garden or in containers.

Okra belongs to the same mallow family known as –Malvaceae, in which hibiscus and Hollyhock belongs. That’s why, the flowers of okra is so wonderful in color, size, and feel. You can also find similarity in the plant size and variations from the Malvaceae family in okra plant.

Is okra a healthy vegetable?- Yes, Okra is very Healthy vegetable. It contains several minerals like potassium, magnesium, vitamin B, vitamin C, Calcium and most importantly it is abundant in roughage. That’s why It is recommended for better digestion. Okra can be consumed in many ways and above all, it is good for all age group.

Is okra slime healthy? -Yes, The slime i.e. the mucilage is very good for your health. Actually, The less you cook the better it is for your health. When you cut fresh green okra, it will start producing slime. If you leave the okra pieces in water or even wash it after cutting then it will fill up with the slime and mind it, it will be difficult to manage after that.

Ok, don’t worry, nothing will affect the nutrition value in your diet for sure. Have Okra daily and maintain your health as much as you want.

cutting-okra-for-cooking

Can you eat whole okra?- Yes, you can eat whole okra. In fact, we all eat whole okra but in pieces for sure. I can’t recommend any of you to eat a fully grown okra without cutting–OH NO! never. It can choke you, in fact, this will be an idiotic decision I think.

First of all, clean the okra carefully. look for any holes, it may indicate insect attack- you may find a big round fatty larva inside. Haha, not always the same. Actually, Cleaning and cutting in edible size is a good habit for effective cooking.

Can I eat okra every day? – Yes, you can eat okra every day. The only care you should follow is that, if you feel any discomfort- then leave it to try anything else. Too much of anything is harmful.

There are lots of fruits and vegetable available in the market. Try having variations in your diet. This will not only make you feel good but also eat well as variation will fulfill many nutritional requirements.

What does raw okra taste like?– believe me, It’s like bitting any other green vegetable. It is slimy and crunchy. It is healthy for sure. But I don’t like to eat it raw, you may try it, it perfectly depends on your choice.

Raw okra is good for salads if you like. You can try mixing it with a pinch of pepper and salt with celery and onions. Wow isn’t it a good choice, If you like that please let me know?

Is fried okra healthy? – I wish I could say a big yes, but unfortunately fried means completely dried for nutrition. It means high calories and very low nutritional value.

Though I like my okra fried but having it will cost me around 220 calories per serving. Actually, you can have it half fried if you wish to maintain the taste with nutrition. Try it and let me know which one you liked the most?

What are the benefits of okra? – It is well known that okra is a healthy vegetable. But other than that, It is very helpful in providing variety and color to your garden.

Actually, the flowers of okra highly attract bees and butterflies. If you are a gardener then you better know the importance of these tiny creatures. They will help the plant in pollination, more pollination means more fruits. Ultimately, you will have a garden full of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

So what if -I say Okra is good for you as well as your garden, do you agree? I think you will but please let me know, what do you think about the fact that okra is fruit and considered a vegetable. Please share your views and comment on the discussion, it will help lots of questioners like you.

Sukant

Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not only a hobby, its a way of living life with nature. Due to my Family background as Commercial Farmers for more than 3 generations: I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here just to share my 25 years of experience in gardening. Believe me Its always Refreshing.

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