I recently bought some Okra and after I stewed it it still contained a lot of very starchy woody parts that were not edible. After chewing each chunk was reduced to a bunch of fibres that look like tiny wood splinters. I observed this occasionally in previous batches of okra but never to this extent.

It is my understanding that this is not a question of cooking time or freshness but rather of the degree of ripeness during harvest. Essentially the okra I bought stayed on the plants for too long and was harvested too late.

Question: what should I look for in okra in the grocery store to avoid that experience?

Size is somewhat helpful, smaller okra tends to be harvested younger but different varieties can come in very different sizes so this is no sufficient criteria (see this related question). What else can I look out for?

1 Answer 1


Try bending the tip of the okra pod. Younger, tender okra should bend easily without snapping, while older or starchy ones may break or feel rigid.

Also, choose ones that have fewer visual defects / blemishes.

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