By Sarah Fiorello

okra pod

Marshmallow Family  (Malvaceae)
Native range: Old World Tropics

Savored in African cuisine for millennia, okra was transported across the Atlantic Ocean on slave ships as provisions, grown by slaves in their domestic gardens, and introduced into American foodways via enslaved cooks.  Okra can be stewed with tomatoes, battered, and fried, pickled in vinegar, and simmered in bubbling pots of hearty gumbo.   

Medicinal uses: Enslaved people ate okra stewed in chicken broth as a remedy for alleviating chills. Delicate flower blossoms were applied to boils to soothe and heal the affected area. Okra pods are a good source of plant fiber and mucilage that help aid digestion and elimination.

Varieties in this dispaly:

Abelmoschus esculentus ‘Candle Fire’
Abelmoschus esculentus ‘Motherland’
Abelmoschus esculentus ‘Hill Country Red Okra’
Abelmoschus esculentus ‘White Velvet Okra’

Listen to learn more: Access a short narrative here.

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