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Okra, called Abelmoschus esculentus, but also okra or ocher, as the color, is not brownish but tending to green, comes from Africa and belongs to the Malvaceae family. This perennial plant also grows in Italy and is enjoyed in some regions in particular. It is its fruits, in truth, to be tasted but the recipes that see them most often present are those of Indian cuisine. Those who have visited the Caribbean islands will have met the Okra also used in great soups or as a side dish for fish dishes.
Little known, the Okra it has numerous properties that I am sure will lead us to explore its gastronomic potential. Rich in fiber and antioxidants, it lowers bad cholesterol levels and it would appear that it also reduces blood sugar levels.
By inserting this vegetable regularly, as far as it is possible to find it, you can count on its action to combat problems with the apparatus or the immune system. Constipation sufferers should know that the pods of okra increase intestinal motility while vitamin A and flavonoids antioxidants contents, bring benefits in terms of sight.
To cultivate the plant it produces the okra it is necessary to live in an area where there are at least 20 ° C and a well-drained soil, rich in nutrients. If there are these conditions, we must anyway wait for spring to sow and wait another 45/60 days to reap the fruits of our effort
It is difficult to define the flavor because it is not strong but not insipid either, in soups it enriches the taste but does not prevail, in brine, it has its own reason but also meets the delicate palates. If we want to taste the leaves, let's prepare them as if it were the dandelion, therefore raw in salads, but also cooked like herbs.
In soups, instead of Okra in pieces, we can find the juice, as a thickener. Before using Okra in the kitchen, it is better to know that it is not recommended for those who are taking drugs for the treatment of diabetes because it could block the absorption of metformin.
Among the various recipes with the Okra there are extremely practical and tasty ones. For example, you can prepare meatballs with ocher, or stewed ocher or okra and potato soup. In any recipe you cook it, this vegetable is in fact highly appreciated not only for its flavor but also for its proven low caloric intake. A pound of okra, a portion of 100 g, provides only 22 kcal. It is very little and all because it is composed for most of its mass by water, for a good 90% of its weight.
It goes without saying that we are not dealing with a particularly rich food macronutrients, in fact carbohydrates represent only 4% of the weight, proteins less than 2% and finally fats are present in negligible quantities. Turning to the micronutrients the situation improves, especially as regards mineral salts. Okra contains a lot of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and zinc. Even with vitamins he does not do badly. It mainly contains A, B1, B2, B3 and B6, vitamins K and C. For the latter, it covers even 27% of the daily requirement. Okra is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which in fact accounts for 2.5% of the weight.
For all information: how to grow okra
Okra: where to buy
We can find the Okra in well-stocked fruit and vegetable stores, or in those with even “ethnic” vegetables. Even at the vegetable market, we can try to find them. The seeds are instead easily purchased on Amazon, once ordered and received, keep them in a dry place and then plant them in pots on the balcony.
In Sicily the plant ofOkra but also in Tuscany there are areas where it is grown. In fact, if you could choose the plant itself, we would only find it in the tropical regions, to bring it to Italy and give it to us together with better recipes in order to appreciate its flavor, the many immigrants who in recent years have arrived in our country and become its citizens.
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