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See Also: Article on Okra; Kitchen Tips; Gumbo

OKRA TRIVIA and FACTS

Okra: Top 5 Producing Countries

 

2000

2010

World Total

11.35 billion lbs

15.22 billion lbs

India

7.54 billion lbs

10.57 billion lbs

Nigeria

1.59 billion lbs

2.1 billion lbs

Sudan

440 million lbs

560 million lbs

Iraq

190 million lbs

330 million lbs

Ivory Coast

200 million lbs

280 million lbs


Okra Plant

Okra is a many seeded, rough, green pod shaped vegetable. It is used to thicken soups and stews, and as a cooked vegetable.

Okra is native to tropical areas of Africa, and was cultivated in Egypt in the 12th century.

Okra is a species of the Hibiscus genus (Hibiscus esculentus) and a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae). The Mallow family of plants (Malvaceae) includes hollyhock, the cotton plant, okra, marsh mallow and the Rose of Sharon. The roots of the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) were the source for the original marshmallow candy, made by boiling the soft inner pulp from the roots with sugar until very thick.

Okra Pods

Lady's Fingers is another name for okra. This name only dates back to the early 20th century, and originally applied to a small variety of okra.  The kidney vetch, with small thin flowers said to resemble a small hand originally held claim to the name 'lady's fingers' (17th century), but in the late 19th century the name was applied to varieties of potatoes, apples, bananas and grapes. Most have gone by the wayside, but the 'lady's fingers' name is still associated with okra, and of course, ladyfingers as applied to a small finger shaped sponge cake.
 

 

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