As it Turns Out… Size Really Does Matter

27 Aug

I told you all about my excitement over my vegetable garden’s growth, and how proud I was that (even though it had only produced tomatoes), it was on the verge of producing quite a few veggies for me to cook and write about.

A mere two or three days after that post, I noticed a little baby okra growing on my okra plant. SUCCESS! I had achieved the ultimate goal of actually producing a variety of vegetables from my garden! I had now produced tomatoes and okra – that counts as a variety.

Having never grown okra before, I decided to let my beautiful, magic, little okra bud grow as much as it wanted to – certainly it had a right to get big and beautiful. In a matter of days, it was the biggest okra that I had ever seen. I was shocked and considered calling the Guiness Book of World Records, but decided instead to give it a few more days to mature.

In the following days, several more pieces of okra sprouted, and grew faster than I could believe. All of them were, to me, abnormally large for okra. This was very exciting. I thought “perhaps I have a prize okra plant on my hands.” Really, I had never seen anyone with okra to rival my own in size and beauty, so I wasn’t about to cut down the okra.

After about another week or week and a half, I decided that it was a special night: I was going to cook and eat my beautiful okra. I cut down the four large pieces from the plant and made my boyfriend admire them for at least thirty seconds. We considered taking photos, but couldn’t find a camera.

It was only after I got the okra on the cutting board that I began to realize my mistake…

I said “honey, can you google ‘when to harvest okra’?”.

“It says that you should harvest it when it’s young…”

“why?”

“It says it will get ‘woody’… what does that mean”?

Looking down at the okra, which I could barely cut even with my “nice” cooking knives, I knew exactly what it meant. I had let my okra grow to the point of being bamboo-like in texture. The boyfriend had to cut up a large portion of it- I thought that perhaps it was just a little tough and the “toughness” could be cooked out.

30 minutes of cooking later, I found out that this was the single worst idea I’ve ever had in terms of cooking. The okra had fibers in it that were similar to splinters and was so difficult to eat, that we actually picked around the okra and instead ate the tomatoes and onions that were mixed in with it.

Lesson learned: okra is SUPPOSED to be small – don’t let it get too big on the plant, there are no prizes for “woody” okra.

Afterthought: I guess I’ve learned quite a bit about okra this year – goodness!

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2 Responses to “As it Turns Out… Size Really Does Matter”

  1. cindy August 27, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

    Sorry about the okra debacle. I thought you didn’t like okra anyway. Better luck next year.

  2. kennis August 27, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    That is too funny; I would have done the same thing!

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