Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Okra

Okra, a popular vegetable of the mallow family grown in North Carolina and elsewhere in the South, is believed to be named for the town of Accra, Ghana, in West Africa. From there in the eighteenth century, okra was taken by Africans or slave traders by way of the West Indies into what became the southern United States. It promptly became popular in the region, where the climate favored its growth. In North Carolina and other southern states, the young seed pods of okra, a mucilaginous plant, are boiled or fried or used in combination with tomatoes in soups and stews. With the shortage of coffee during the Civil War, parched okra seeds were found to be an acceptable substitute, but the shortage of even this source led to the realization that roasted grains of rye were more palatable.

 

Image Credit:

Okra, Boone, North Carolina. Image courtesy of Flickr user Appalachian Encounters. Available from https://www.flickr.com/photos/28744394@N08/4996830867/ (accessed July 18, 2012).

Additional Resources:

Okra Production, NCSU Horticulture Information Leaflets: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-19.html

"Open Your Mind (And Your Mouth) To Okra, NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112761034

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at https://ncpedia.org/about.