I hope it isn't tough. I test mine before cooking by how easily it cuts. I use a very sharp knife and start at the narrow tip. If it cuts easily it will be fine. If I have to "saw" it, I just keep going up toward the stem until it does. You will soon learn just when to harvest it for your best uses. Did you know it is one of the most nutritious foods you can grow? Besides the traditional method of frying it, we like it steamed only enough to be tender. No "slimminess" that way.
Thanks for the cooking suggestion Ozark. My husband likes okra but hates the "slimminess" so, that's why we always fried it. I will definitely try steaming them.
I was wondering if the okra would taste woody because they are so big. I had no intentions on them getting that big...I didn't know what the plants were until yesterday. My children gave the, then seedlings to there dad for Father's Day. They told me that they were cucumber seeds, but as they grew they got taller and did not vine like a cucumber plant. Then, I started thinking that they were sunflowers because both plants are taller than I am. So, I was waiting for those long green oblong shapes to bloom...oops.
I'm really surprised that your plants got that tall before producing. You may have had some help harvesting by local critters before you noticed the pods. Okra are members of the Hibiscus family and produce a yellow blossom that only stays for a couple of days before falling off. Ours start producing at about knee height. You can actually "Prune" them early in their growth to encourage bushier lower plants but we have never done that on purpose. One year my DH had to take a stool to the garden to harvest the okra. When steaming the Okra, I do not cut it at all. I use very young pods.
Most interesting veggie I've ever grown. My first time growing; Mine didn't start producing till about 3 ft. Planted more in June that really took off, produced like mad, really bushed out and now of course are slowing down -- hope I get lots more before frost.
I found out that blanching is not necessary for freezing. Just pickled 2 pints today and will need to wait to see how they came out. Even though we don't eat lots of Okra, I'll grow it just for the interesting plant.
Ozark, you were correct about the large okra being woody. The largest okra I harvested was soooo tough to slice, in addition, the seeds were big and brown. I proceeded to fry them anyhow and boy that particular okra sure was hard to chew! The others were slightly smaller, but very easy to slice and the seeds were small and white. Those were very tender and yummy. I know what size to harvest them now. There is more growing...I think I'll try my hand at okra and stewed tomatoes.