Fresh okra is not always easy to find in the north—so my solution was to grow it. Okra is sometimes referred to as gumbo--gumbo is the Swahili word for okra. It is a tall-growing—usually three or four feet in the north, to six or more feet in the south--warm-season, annual vegetable from the same family as hollyhock, rose of Sharon and hibiscus.
Okra pairs especially well with tomatoes. For a northerner it is often an acquired taste—kind of like scotch. For a southerner it's pretty much a birthright.
It is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients--nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. Soluble fiber helps to lower serum cholesterol. The other half is insoluble fiber that keeps the intestinal tract healthy. Nearly 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid are also present in a half-cup of cooked okra.
So if you’ve never had okra—try it—you might even like it.