Oscar Okra: An Heirloom Worth Growing!
Despite the Texas heat, Okra continues to produce! In this photo, there are several small okra, the one at the very front and center is the newest.
Okra bloom everyday and each bloom produces a seed pod. Before the seed pod is completely matured, it is tender and quite a treat! Upon maturity, the seed pods are dried and brown, and multiple seeds can be found inside. All that from just one flower!
We’ve tried a number of varieties and since we started using Oscar Okra two years ago, it’s a favorite! The plants are about 4 to 4 1/2 feet tall, and okra are produced continuously — as long as they are harvested before pod maturity. Once the pod matures, the plant is finished—the goal for ALL plants is reproduction, and Okra produces seed! (Not all plants reproduce through seeds — some, like daylilies, will expand territory by generating new underground tubers, and heirloom roses can reproduce when stems break off and begin growing roots—under the right conditions, of course. )
The great thing about any heirloom plant is that the seeds can be collected at the end of the season and planted the next year (or next season in temperature climates). Due to all the variance in the plant’s genes, however, occasionally a new variety is produced — and so began the story of Oscar Okra.
This variety of Okra produces smaller plants, but larger okra (as compared to many other varieties). So, it is ideal for raised beds, and small areas. (Less space, more food — excellent!).
We have Okra and tomatoes growing in a single raised garden bed.
Related to Hibiscus.
If you’ve ever looked closely at an okra flower and noticed that it looks a lot like a hibiscus flower, your not imaging things — they are in the same family of plants (Malvaceae — the mallow family). You will find cotton in this same family as well!
The flowers are open only long enough for pollination to take place — less than a day — then they fall off.
Oscar Okra has a pale yellow flower with a dark, almost maroon, center.
Cook Fresh or Freeze.
When there are only a few okra, we just cook them fresh — cut and boil for gumbo, stir fry whole, etc. If you want to freeze them, just blanch whole okra, freeze on cookie sheets until solid, and place into a storage container or bag. When frozen whole, the okra do freeze very neatly, without slime (I tried cutting before freezing, not a good idea for me!)