Lessons From Rotted Okra


I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions anymore. Well, only kinds to start smoking. But I would like to make two resolutions for the upcoming farmers market season. The picture above perfectly exemplifies my two points.

1. Experiment
I’ve only tried okra from other people’s cooking and I had mixed feelings on the vegetable. (This was a good memory.) I bought some at the far mar but I was so nervous with what to do with it that I let it go bad. I need to be brave this season and

2. Not Waste
There was really no reason for this lovely, furry green rod to rot in my fridge. Part of the problem is my lack of courage in dealing with the finicky okra, but the other is I will buy too much. Everything looks so gorgeous at the market and I want to buy it all. I need to come prepared with a plan and not just buy all of the beautiful produce I can carry.

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  • dad gansie May 6, 2010  


  • BS May 6, 2010  

    I feel horrible when I let good veggies go bad.
    And even though I know they’re better for me (and the earth), the far mar stuff does go bad more quickly, since it doesn’t have all those great chemicals and stuff that the supermarket veggies are coated in.
    I ease some of my guilt by bringing the stuff that goes bad back to the far mar for them to compost.
    ps – still not sure how I feel about “far mar” but I’m going with it.

  • La Morgan May 10, 2010  

    1) Gansie, I am not a big fan of “far mar,” for the record. 🙂

    2) I have the same exact compulsion at the market. Ways I’ve successfully handled it: (1) given myself a very strict dollar budget which is easy since you have to have it in cash (yes, you can spend $5 on ramps but it means you don’t get eggs this week) (2) only give in to things that are SUPER seasonal (e.g. aforementioned ramps, strawberries, asparagus, etc.) and give a staple up in return (such as bread, eggs, yogurt, lettuce that I can get any time of the year) and (3) sign up for a fabulous CSA which prevents me from going to market June – September and has me knee-deep in produce every week, forcing me to think & act fast before things rot.

    Admission: I still let a few things rot, and allow myself to be forgiven. Namely: cabbage; beets (SO sick of them by end of season!); squash (same reason); radicchio (just don’t like it); zucchini (see beets above) and sometimes peaches when I get 3 lbs worth and I don’t have canning equipment. I don’t ever get over rotted berries, though – so sad!!

  • gansie May 11, 2010  

    thanks for your version of anti-rot.

    so ive decided that i don’t want to go the CSA route for exactly the reason that you do. i mean, what would i do with my summer weekends if i didn’t visit the farmers market. a CSA would ensure id be stuck with whatever i was brought, not whatever i wanted. and while its a great experiment in make-what-ya-got, i just couldnt bear not browsing the market.

    also, i have a tip for berries. as soon as they start to get mushy i throw them in the freezer, which i can then either use for: toppings in yogurt (chopped up), in a smoothie, or warmed up with butter and booze for a pancake or french toast topping.

  • westcoast June 15, 2010  

    Don’t be scared of okra!! Buy pieces that aren’t much longer than 4 inches and are not super soft or squishy. You need to keep it ideally in a paper bag folded over with a small clip barely holding it closed, but certainly in a bag that doesn’t seal completely shut. Keep it in the fridge. It’s probably only good for 4 days max in the fridge if it was super fresh at the farmers market.

    Work quickly with it because it’s mucilaginous and the moment you cut it it starts releasing its goo. The faster you start cooking it, the less likely it is to be gummy and soggy, which is what most people who hate okra describe it as being.

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