Okra is sometimes known as ladies fingers, bhindi and bamia.

It is widely used in southern American states, the West Indies, India, Asia and South America and is an important part of Cajun cooking styles. It is probably best known as the key ingredient of gumbo - a stew of okra, tomatoes, chilli and chicken or seafood. It contains mucilaginous gum that acts as a natural thickening agent in soups, curries, braises or stews.

There are many varieties of okra; the most commonly found are green and white. Green okra is shorter and slightly stubby when compared with white okra, which is actually a light green colour. White okra is longer and more slender than green okra; it also has quite pronounced ridges.

What to look for

Good okra must be fresh and small, preferably less than 6-8 cm in length. Large okra tends to be tough and stringy.


Okra is imported; a limited supply is available all year.


Refrigerate in plastic bags. Use promptly. Avoid washing before storing, as the okra will become slimy.

How to prepare

Trim stalk ends. Okra can be left whole or sliced. Cook until soft and tender.

Ways to eat

Toss freshly cooked okra in lemon juice and a little butter. Okra can be added to curries, soups, salads, braises or stews.

Cooking Methods

Bake, boil, microwave, steam, stew, braise.


Okra is a good source of vitamins C and K and a source of niacin and magnesium.  Phytonutrients, phenolics, carotenoids and flavonoids are found in okra.


Experiment with okra in order to give first hand advice on preparation and recipes. Customers may not know how to use okra, so use the QR code on labels.

Store at 7-10ºC with a relative humidity of 90-98%. Avoid lower temperatures as this will result in chilling injury.


Okra with tomatoes
Okra with tomatoes

Okra must be picked young, no longer than 10 cm, and prepared as soon as possible after picking. View Recipe

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