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The Making of Okra Seed
Okra seed is not our most popular seed, but one that deserves its 15 minutes of fame. Okra seed and okra plants are mysterious and misunderstood. Their slimy texture can be a total turn-off for some, while others love it! We grow okra every year on our farm for its stunning flowers, amazing production, and delicious food it produces. We use it in soups, gumbos, sauces, stir-fries, and more! It is one of the few plants that really THRIVES in the late summer heat.
First, okra seed has a long and interesting history. Originating in Ethiopia, okra was likely brought to the United States by enslaved people. Okra is part of the Mallow family and has similar growing patterns to San Diego’s local mallow species. A prolific and easy to grow plant, okra seed is commonly planted in gardens in India, the Middle East, and other warm climates. In warm tropical climates, okra plants are often perennials. The young tender seed pods are eaten throughout the year. On our farm, we prize okra for its thickening agents. You can add it to soups and other recipes to thicken them up. It’s a great alternative to flour for those who are gluten sensitive. Pickled is another way we enjoy okra; they are so tasty!
Okra Seed Production
Okra seed production is particularly fun on the farm because the plants are so happy in the summer heat while everything else is wilting. The seed pods are grown well past their eating stage, and fully mature seeds are allowed to develop within the seed pods. The seed pods become very hard and fibrous. The process of taking the seeds out of the pods is time-consuming and tedious but results in the best quality okra seed. After the seed is removed from the pods, cleaned, tested, and packaged, it is sent to a store near you!
If you have not grown okra before, we highly recommend giving it a try!