The Health Benefits of Okra & How To Ferment Them

 

Okra, also known by the names of Lady’s Fingers, Bamia and Gumbo, are a nutritional powerhouse of a superfood that has been used throughout history for both medicinal and culinary purposes.

There are so many benefits to consuming okra and they are so tasty too!

Some of these benefits are:

  • Okra is a very low calorie vegetable – only 30 calories per cup.
  • They are rich sources of dietary fiber, which helps with digestion, stabilizes blood sugar, and helps to control the rate at which sugar is absorbed. This is wonderful in the support of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and weight loss.
  • The pods are one of the richest sources of mucilage substance that supports smooth peristalsis and can ease constipation.
  • Okra are high in vitamin A, beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein – powerful antioxidants important for combating cancers and anti aging.
  • They are a good source of folate providing about 22% of the RDA per cup. Folate is an essential compound for optimal pregnancy. It helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida and helps the baby to grow sufficiently.
  • This green vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing about 36% of the daily recommended levels. Vitamin C is also essential for fetal development as well as immune support and is great for the skin.
  • Okra are rich in B-complex group of vitamins like niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid.
  • They contain good amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is required for strengthening of bones.
  • Okra also have many important minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.

There are so many delicious ways okra can be prepared such as Okra in Tomato Sauce or Paleo Fried Okra, but one of the our favorite things to do with okra in our house is to ferment them. Cultured okra, or any cultured vegetables for that matter, are a whole new level of superfood!

Over and above all the previous mentioned benefits, cultured okra:

  • are chock full of probiotics ideal for optimizing your gut flora and therefore support your immune system
  • are potent chelators (detoxifiers) helping to break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from your body.
  • support nutrient absorption
  • aid digestion and improve bowel health.

How To Make Fermented Okra

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb whole fresh okra
  • 1 quart (4 cups) of spring water or good filtered water
  • 9 1/2 tablespoons (47 grams) of Himalayan Salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 bird’s eye chilies, split with seeds (optional)

Utensils:

Instructions:

  1. Wash and dry okra thoroughly.
  2. Cut off top of stems. (see image below)
  3. Place okra with the pointy end facing up, filling up the bottom of the jar. (see image below)
  4. Drop in the chilies and garlic pieces.
  5. Now add a second layer of okra – pointy ends facing down, wedging them in between the okras of the first layer. Be sure to pack them tightly. Get as many in there as possible. (see image below)
  6. Place weight on top of okra.
  7. Pour salt into the quart of water and stir until fully dissolved. This makes a 5% brine solution. Pour water over the okra making sure that they are fully submerged, leaving about an inch of head space at the top of the jar.
  8. Close lid on tight and leave out on kitchen counter for about 4 weeks.
  9. Be sure to “burp” (release fizz) the jar once a day for the first 7 – 10 days as the fermenting will create pressure in the jar.
  10. Transfer to fridge and enjoy. These okra will last a long time in the fridge as they have been preserved and they actually continue to ferment in the fridge albeit more slowly.

 

 

okra stems cut

Cut stems off okra.

okra 1 layer

Place okra with the pointy end facing up, filling up the bottom of the jar.

okra 2 layers

Add a second layer of okra – pointy ends facing down,

wedging them in between the okras of the first layer. Be sure to pack them tightly.

Tinna HawkinsAbout the Author: Tinna Hawkins is a 9th generation Wise Woman and an avid health nut! For the last 13 years, she has been helping people with their health as a Wellness Consultant. She is a strong proponent of traditional foods and ancestral nutrition, cooking from scratch, herbal medicine and essential oils, longevity strategies, yoga, meditation, toxin-free personal and home care products, an active lifestyle, supplementation and a positive outlook on life! Together with her husband, Dr Budweiser, they own and operate Weiser Living. www.weiserliving.com

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