Okra is a warm-weather vegetable that thrives in the South. It’s very easy to grow, but there are some tricks to making sure you get the most out of this tasty crop. Here’s everything you need to know about harvesting your okra from seed to table!
When To Harvest Okra
There are three main times to harvest okra: young, mature, and overmature. If you’re thinking about using the plant for cooking or eating right away, it’s important not to wait until after it has matured into its fully ripe state; this will cause too much stringiness in your final dish.
If possible, let some pods develop on each plant before harvesting them all at once so that they can keep producing new fruits throughout their lifetime as long as there’s enough sunlight left in their life cycle (about six weeks).
When Is The Best Month To Harvest Okra?
Okra is a warm-weather vegetable, so it’s best harvested in the summer months. The pods are ready for harvest when they are about 5 inches long and begin to bend over under their weight. If you wait until after your plants have bloomed, then your okra will be ready sooner.
Can You Harvest Okra Too Early?
We often think about harvesting okra when the pods are big enough to use. But is it possible to harvest okra too early?
Yes, it is possible to harvest your okra too early.
The first thing you need to know about harvesting okra is that the pods should be at least 4 inches long before you harvest them. This means that if you pick them before they reach this size, they will not be fully ripe and will not taste as good.
Okra tastes best when it is fully ripe, so picking it too early can result in a loss of flavor and texture.
How to Harvest Okra
Okra can be harvested by hand or machine.
Hand-harvesting okra is one of the least expensive ways to harvest it, but it requires more time than machine harvesting and may result in less yield. To hand-harvest okra, choose young plants when that is about 6 inches tall and have several leaves on each plant. Cut off the flower head to prevent flowering and encourage more pod production. Harvest when pods are about 2 inches long for the best flavor and quality.
Machine-harvesting methods include cutting pods off the plant with a knife or pulling them off by hand, followed by cleaning them on a conveyor belt or through a large tumbler that shakes dirt from the pods as they pass through it.
These methods produce a high volume of okra at a low cost per pound because they require less labor than hand-picking methods do; however, they also result in lower yields per acre than hand-picking methods do because some pods are lost during processing due to broken stems or other mechanical problems
Storing Okra After Harvesting
Harvesting okra involves cutting the pods off at their base when they are still young and tender. If you’re growing your own crop of okra, you will need to know how to store it after harvesting so that it lasts long enough to be used throughout the year.
Storing Okra In The Fridge
If you want to store fresh okra in your refrigerator, make sure that you take out all the seeds first. After removing the seeds, wash off all excess dirt and then dry off the pods completely using a paper towel or clean cloth.
Once they are dry, place them in a plastic bag or container with airtight lids and store them in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Storing Okra In The Freezer
Another method to store okra after harvesting them is in the freezer. Okra can be kept in the freezer for several months. It is best to store okra in a freezer bag or container, with some air left in the container to keep it from freezing too quickly. If you freeze the pods whole, they can be thawed and cooked without having to cut them up first.
However, if you want to preserve your okra for longer periods of time, you can also freeze it after cutting it into pieces.
Freezing Your Okra Pods
First, remove any stems from your pods and wash them thoroughly with cold water until all dirt has been rinsed away.
Then place them on paper towels or a clean dishcloth and pat dry with another towel.
Once they are dry, place them into resealable plastic bags or containers and seal them tightly before placing them into the freezer where they will keep for many months without losing their flavor or texture.
It’s easy to grow okra and it tastes great. If you have the right soil conditions and enough sunlight, harvesting your first crop of okra should be full of smiles and excitement. Just remember to keep your plants healthy by watering them regularly with a balanced fertilizer solution so that they can produce as much fruit as possible before going into hibernation in the winter months.