Okro is a common vegetable in Nigeria. It can be served raw in salads or cooked on its own. It goes well with tomatoes, onions, corn, pepper and eggplant. When buying fresh okro, look for young pods that are free from bruises, tender but not soft, and no more than four inches long. The older and longer the pod, the more it becomes tough and stringy.
Okro can be used for several purposes whether fresh or dried. It can be steamed, baked, pickled, boiled or stewed. It can also be used in place of eggplant in many recipes or raw in salads.
The seeds can be toasted, grounded and used as a coffee substitute while mature ones are used to make rope and paper.
Okro cannot be preserved for long, so is better used within two to three days. Do not wash the okro until you are ready to make use of it, otherwise it will become slimy. It can be stored in a basket or placed on fresh leaves.
Why you should eat okro
Research has shown that Okro is a good source of vitamin C and A, B complex, iron and calcium. It is low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber. Okro is also fat free and helps to stabilise the blood sugar and lubricates the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. It also assures easy passage of waste from the body and it is completely non-toxic, has no adverse side effects, full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most families. Okro protects one from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin.