General Information: Okra is a tapering pod shaped vegetable that originated in Africa, it is the fruit of a plant that's related to hibiscus and mallow. Okra blossoms resemble hibiscus flowers and are edible. With it's distinctive fuzzy and ridged skin, okra is classically two to four inches in length and a green color. This special variety is colored a deep maroon on the outside.
Often available year around in southern states and from May through September in other areas of the US, okra is a staple ingredient in Cajun and Creole cooking; okra is also popular in the cuisines of the Caribbean, Pakistan and Asia. Okra will produce a thick and viscous liquid when stewed; it can also be fried, pickled and sautéed.
The red color of this variety will turn green when cooked for long periods of time. Be careful to not cook okra in iron or copper pans as there is often a chemical reaction that will turn the okra to a black color. Okra should be rinsed in cool water before cooking. Okra longer than 5 inches should be avoided as it may be tough and fibrous.