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Garden journal entry


October 11, 2019. Three years after moving to Texas, our family has yet to adopt many of the southern habits, stylings, and tastes. But one thing we've taken to with enthusiasm is okra. I remember growing the odd vegetable once in Pennsylvania, as as experiment, but we never ate any of it – it was not familiar to us, and seemed slimy and not so appetizing. Fast-forward a few years, and we found ourselves subscribing to a weekly CSA box of organic produce here in Texas – and in the summer, that meant a continuous supply of those odd immature seedpods of the African mallow relative. So we did some research, and found that they were quite tasty when oven-roasted with some olive oil and salt, so that became our standard way of preparing them for a while. The next summer, we had our own little farm plot, and decided to grow our own supply. Wow, do those plants grow in the Texas heat! They quickly zoomed up to 8 feet or taller, and provided a constant supply of pods, just about the only produce that kept on coming through the summer months. So we needed some more outlets to use our bounty, and decided to try our hand at gumbo. We first tried an internet recipe that came out tasty enough, but over the course of a few more attempts we settled on our own variation, one that omits the heavy dose of roux, doubles the okra content, and uses a flexible combination of bacon, chicken, and andouille sausage for flavor and protein, along with red and green peppers, diced tomatoes, garlic, and some spicy flavorings. Served over rice, it is a perfect summer meal. I've gotten much better at cutting up the okra with the plentiful supply that comes our way: even after I throw out half of the okra with every harvest, the pods that have grown too large even after just three or four days of development. In the photo here, I'm manning the okra-slinging operation, while Amy has temporarily stepped away from the andouille-frying to take the pic.

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Last modified: September 09, 2009
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