As okra growers, we’ve all been there…
You notice your pods are almost ready to harvest and decide to give it just one more day, but then the summer rains set in! All thoughts of garden play are moved to the back of your mind and by the time you’re finally able to get outside without being drenched, those baby pods have grown some. Your perfect harvest has turned to huge fibrous pods. Sometimes okra grows so quickly that just missing a day or two can be the difference between young and tender versus big and woody.
Okra has always been one of my favorite vegetables, and I’ve thankfully passed that love onto my little ones. As a vegetable it is exceptionally versatile. Generally, recipes containing okra are delicious southern side dishes or entrees such as easy to stretch soups and casseroles, gumbo, and fried okra. I always give a good chuckle when someone tells me it’s too slimy and have to reassure them they simply haven’t had it prepared the right way! I thoroughly enjoy turning okra non-believers into lovers, which is why I’m so excited to share the following recipe. I’m going to show you all how delicious okra can be, even when you think the pods are overgrown and woody.
This discovery is the pure brainchild of my absolute okra obsession. I recently learned that okra is way more than those little green pods. The beautiful pearlescent seeds of an overly mature okra pod stay tender way beyond the edibility of the pod, which makes them so much more useful than I had ever known. Chris Smith is writing a book, The Whole Okra, and we were having a conversation regarding what could be done with the seeds. People have made couscous, and pickled them, and roasted them, but when Chris mentioned the word ‘granola’, my mommy ears kicked in. As the mother of three amazing children with bottomless pits as stomachs, granola is one of our go-to snacks. It’s also one of the easiest to prepare, and as long as you find a good basic recipe, you can add any combination of so many different healthy additions. I spent a few hours in my aromatically enticing kitchen and the end result is an awesomely savory and sweet loose granola recipe that uses the immature okra seeds from fibrous okra pods.
I recommend eating this okra seed granola atop a pile of Greek yogurt with honey drizzled all over. If you’re not so jazzed about any or all of the add-on ingredients, you can easily amend the recipe to fit your needs. Enjoy!
Okra Seed Granola
Makes 10-12 servings
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dried okra seeds(I let mine dry out for 3 days)**
1tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil(can sub with olive oil or melted butter)
Splash of maple syrup
½ cup dried berry mix(I used cranberries, blueberries, and cherries)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- Combine dry ingredients, not including dried fruit
- Combine wet ingredients
- Mix wet and dry ingredients together
- Spread evenly onto cookie sheet(for this recipe I used 3 cookie sheets total) and bake until golden in color(approx 30-35min)
- Stir in dried berry mix and enjoy!
- Keep stored in an airtight container
Immature Okra Seed Harvesting Tips
Only use seeds from overgrown okra pods, i.e. too woody to eat but not yet brown, seeds should still be tender. Ideally, each seed is going to be about the size of a BB. To open the pods, I simply sliced halfway through the tip of the pod at a 45 degree angle and pulled the skin of the pod down. Emptying the seeds was a simple task, albeit time consuming. If you’d like to be super resourceful with the remaining parts of the okra pod, you can dehydrate the skins to use as a starchy binder, and I’ve heard the thin innards attached to the seeds can be boiled as a pasta substitute!
Article Written by: Angie Lavezzo
About the Author: Angie Lavezzo is the former general manager of Sow True Seed. Beyond her professional role at Sow True, Angie's passion for gardening extends into personal hands-on experience, fostering plants and reaping bountiful harvests.