The Whole Okra is a lighthearted but information-rich collection of okra history, lore, recipes, craft projects, growing advice, and more. Follow along with author Chris Smith as he recounts what he’s learned from various chefs, food historians, university researchers, farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners. On his journey, Smith discovered an amazing range of delicious ways to cook and eat the plant, along with ingenious and surprising ways to process it from tip-to-tail: pods, leaves, flowers, seeds, and stalks.
Inside, you’ll find classic recipes like fried okra pods and okra soup, as well as unexpected delights including okra seed pancakes and okra flower vodka. In addition to recipes, Smith researched the history of okra as a fiber crop for making paper and the uses of okra mucilage (slime) as a preservative. The Whole Okra is foremost a foodie’s book, but Smith also provides practical tips and techniques for home and market gardeners. He gives directions for saving seed for replanting, for a breeding project, or for a stockpile of seed for making okra oil, okra flour, okra tempeh, and more. Smith has grown more than 75 varieties of okra, and he describes the nuanced differences in flavor, texture, and color; the best-tasting varieties; and his personal favorites. His wry humor and seed-to-stem enthusiasm for the subject infuse every chapter with just the right mix of fabulous recipes and culinary tips, unique projects, and fun facts about this vagabond vegetable with enormous potential.