Okra flowers look beautiful in the garden, but did you know they’re also edible?
They are delicious and nutritious, and can be used in a variety of recipes.
As well as the flowers, okra leaves, pods and seeds are also edible.
In this article I’ll share my tips for harvesting and eating okra flowers from your garden.
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Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), also known as lady’s fingers, is a perennial plant that can also be grown as an annual.
It grows best in warm climates in a position with full sun and protection from strong winds.
Okra plants produce long, green pods that contain small seeds.
The okra pods can be eaten when they’re young and tender, but the flowers can also be used for cooking.
When does okra bloom?
Okra plants begin to bloom about 7 weeks after planting the seeds, but it may take a week or two longer, depending on the conditions.
The flowers are 1.5 to 3 inches (4 to 8 cm) in diameter, with 5 white or yellowish petals.
Okra is from the same plant family as hibiscus, and the flowers look similar to hibiscus flowers. 
They are beautiful to look at but they don’t last long – so be sure to pick them before the pods start to form.
Use a liquid fertilizer monthly, but try to avoid using a fertilizer that contains too much nitrogen, otherwise you’ll get lots of leafy growth but not many flowers.
Harvesting okra flowers
To harvest the flowers, cut them off just below the base of the flower with a sharp pair of scissors.
It’s a good idea to wear gardening gloves when you’re picking okra flowers because the tiny hairs on the leaves and spines on the pods can irritate your skin.
I like to pick a few flowers from each plant and leave the rest so that I can harvest the pods later on.
Make sure you only take what you need for immediate use because the flowers don’t keep well.
The best time to pick them is mid-morning when they are fresh and fragrant.
Preparing and eating okra flowers
To prepare the flowers for cooking, you’ll need to remove the pistils and stamens from each blossom.
This is an important step as these parts can be bitter and tough.
Once you have removed the pistils and stamens, rinse the flowers in cold water to remove any dirt and leave them to dry on a piece of paper towel.
Okra flowers can be cooked in a similar way as zucchini flowers.
One of the simplest and tastiest ways is to lightly sauté them in a pan with some butter or olive oil.
This brings out their delicate flavor and texture – delicious served as a side dish or salad topping.
You can also stuff them and fry them in a light batter.
Okra flowers have mucilaginous (slimy) properties when they’re cooked, so they’re often used to thicken soups and stews.
You can also add them to salads, soups, stir-fries, and any other recipe that calls for okra, or use them as a garnish to decorate your meals.
Storing okra flowers
Okra flowers can be stored in a paper bag and kept in the refrigerator. They are best eaten within a few days of picking.
So there are my tips for harvesting and eating okra flowers from your garden.
I hope this article has inspired you to make use of the stunning flowers from your okra plants.
Have you tried cooking okra flowers? Let me know in the comments below.