Green okra has a torpedo-shaped pod ranging in length of five to six inches when harvested mature. The pods are pale lime to lime green in color, their exterior has furrowed lengthwise grooves. The skin can often be fuzzy to prickly, which can cause an allergic reaction to sensitive skin. The flesh bears a tender spongy membrane with many tiny white seeds. Okra is known less for its lean flavor and more for its sticky sap that creates the flesh's gelatinous texture.
With okra, harvesting young tender fruits and knowing how to cook them are two key ingredients. Okra is historically not eaten alone but rather paired in many recipes with bold, complex flavors and varying textures. Okra is most often used as a soup or stew ingredient, though its textures and flavors are enhanced when fried and grilled. Okra pairs well with basil, beet greens, butter, cream, garlic, lemon, kale, onions, parsley, olive oil, pickled vegetables, chile peppers and peppercorns, paprika, and tomatoes.
Fresh okra is very perishable. Keep no more than two to three days in the refrigerator. Store in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel and placed inside a perforated plastic bag to keep pods very dry.