Native to Africa, okra o okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is a plant that loves warm climates and grows well even in our latitudes. "If you sow it now in pots at home and transfer it to the terrace or garden, in a short time it will be filled with flowers and with the beginning of summer it will begin to give zucchini-like vegetables, vaguely flavored DolceHe explains Maria Cazzaniga, of the Res Naturae nursery of Introbio, in the province of Lecco. «This plant then belongs to the same family as the mallow. And like this one it has edible leaves from refreshing and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the fruits ».
How to grow okra
Take a pot about 20 cm in diameter and fill it with universal potting soil. Sprinkle some seeds and cover them with a layer of earth a few millimeters high. Keep the container indoors in a bright location and where the temperature is around 20 ° C. Always keep the soil slightly moist, avoiding water stagnation. As the sprouts grow, remove the weaker seedlings, so you can select the number of specimens you want to grow. When they have 6 leaves, you can put them in pots or on the ground.
With 2 plants you can already have a significant harvest. Put them in a 40-50 cm long rectangular box filled with soil specific for vegetable plants, which is already well fertilized. The fruits are harvested when they reach 4-6 cm in length. Eye: if you let them grow too much, they become leathery.
How to use okra in cooking
The flavor of the okra, a source of vitamin C, zinc and calcium and fiber, reminiscent of that of asparagus and artichoke. The vegetable, cut into rounds and the leaves, which are edible, can be cooked steamed and baked, season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and consume as a side dish. If you love oriental flavors you can also flavor with a little soy sauce and sesame or poppy seeds.