Sunday, July 3, 2011

Okra Greens

We recently thinned out our okra in order to give them more space to grow. In doing so we were left with a large pile of okra greens. Rather than just compost them, or feed them to the chickens, we decided to investigate the cooking properties of okra greens. We found a few recipes and web pages which mentioned using the greens as a thickening agent for stews, soups, and other dishes.

Young okra leaves
However, we could not find anything about cooking the young greens, so we decided to experiment! Here at home, we sauteed them with onions as you would with other greens, and they were delicious! We also sent some greens home with a friend where she made a curried bean and vegetable dish with the greens and put it over rice. Her observations were that while the stem of the young okra greens had a slimy texture when you broke the leaves off, the greens themselves were very much like spinach. One of our hestitations with how much to use and how to use it was a warning we found which read "first to goo and then to glue!" Judging from our experiments, this must be referring to mature okra leaves. The young okra leaves did not act as a thickening agent. They have a pleasant taste, and were a great addition to our meals!

Recipes we found online:
Okra Greens and Corn Saute
Something Akin to Paella
Chickpeas, Eggplant, and Okra Leaves


  1. My twelve year old is interested in different uses of our mature okra leaves. We just read a biography on George Washington Carver and learned of of his experiments with many different plants, so it has my son fired up to experiment. :) I wanted to see if they were a safe green to eat and found your post. Thanks for the information. I think, to support his ideas and mood, I am going to taste his boiled leaves now that I know I wont be poisoned... haha
    Audrey homeschooling mom from MS

  2. That is very exciting to hear of your child's interest in using the okra greens! Keep in mind that from our research we found the mature leaves become thick when cooking much faster than the young leaves we used ("first to goo and then to glue").
    This could be a great opportunity for your child to learn about recipes from other cultures as well! We found that African cultures often use mature leaves for dishes. A quick search for "okra leaves" in African recipes brought this up:
    It gives the history and culture of the various ingredients, and the ingredients look to be things you could find or for which you could easily find a replacement. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!