Another excellent result in growing food the Aquaponic way. Take a look at this beautiful Okra flower and fruit. This is one of four Okra bushes I have growing in my Aquaponics system that are just beginning to flower and develop seed pods.
Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is highly valued for its edible green seed pods. It can be grown outdoors from the tropics to the warm temperate zones and is a very hardy plant able to withstand a wide variety of weather conditions. It is also relatively pest free, which makes it a good candidate for organic growing methods such as Aquaponics.
Okra is thought to originate in Africa although some claim in comes from southern Asia. Its use as a food is widespread throughout the world.
It is said to have some really wonderful health benefits. Apart from the obvious benefit of eating green vegetables, one of the more valuable health benefits may well be the “goo”or stickiness of the internals of the seed pod.
The products of the Okra plant are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic “goo” when the seed pods are cooked; the mucilage contains a usable form of soluble fibre.
This soluble fibre is very beneficial to our intestinal system. Modern western diets are, most often, very short on good fibre. Soluble fibre is especially good, helping our lower intestinal tract to operate as nature intended.
There is an epidemic of bowel cancer in the western world. Many nutritionists believe there is a strong link between the incidence of bowel cancer and lack of dietary fibre. See the Bowel Cancer Foundation here.
There are loads of very interesting ways to make use of Okra in our meal preparation.
Many recipes show ways to prepare Okra in order to minimise the slimy feel and taste that some find objectionable. I don’t mind it at all actually having first being introduced to Okra when I lived in Papua New Guinea. The pods were readily available in the local markets at Port Moresby and we found it to be a good idea to use as much of the locally available produce as possible.
Keeping the pods intact, and brief cooking, for example stir-frying, help to achieve this. Cooking with acidic ingredients such as a few drops of lemon juice, tomatoes, or vinegar is helpful. Alternatively, the pods can be sliced thinly and cooked for a long time so the mucilage dissolves. The cooked leaves can also be used as a powerful soup thickener. The immature pods may also be pickled and used. Here is a web link to a dozen or so very useful recipes for the preparation of Okra. Okra Recipes
Grow a bush or two of Okra in your Aquaponics garden and learn to use it regularly in your diet. Your lower intestines will thank you for it.