Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Clemson Loses the Okra Game!

MM LOVES okra.  For years, we have grown the traditional "Clemson Spineless" variety, never questioning its superiority.  Well.....move over CS--we've found a replacement, and after reading this post, all you Southern okra-philes, arise!  I believe you, too, will be capitvated to the extent you will abandon that old-timey favorite and lose your heart to....Beck's Big Buck Okra!  Ta-daaaaaaa and drumroll:

Clemson Spineless on the far right--3 inches

Here, directly from Fedco's seed catalog Fedco Seeds

"No, this is not a good hunting story or one of those sure-fire get-rich schemes, nor did Beck make his buck by getting a bail-out funded by tax-payer dollars.  When Malcolm and Delphine Beck bought their farm in 1968 in Cormal County, TX they found in the abandoned garden giant okra stalks with the fattest pods they'd ever seen.  When they saved and replanted the seed it grew big fluted remarkably tender delicious green pods in abundance on sturdy plants.  They called it the snapping okra because it snaps so easily off the plants when it is ready to harvest.  They couldn't find anything like it in seed catalogs. 

At one point they even saved and cleaned 74 POUNDS of seed for a repacker only to have the company go belly-up before paying them a cent.  Undeterred they've continued giving seeds away the last 33 years at their Garden Ville store.  It turns out that the original seeds were smuggled from Germany (GERMANY???  Too far north for okra???)(maybe via the Dalmatian Coast??)by one of their neighbors.  We are fortunate to have a limited quantity grown by our friends at Southern Exposure.  Though not adapted to our climate (Maine for Fedco) Beck's will produce even in Central Maine in an average growing season.  Of course it will do much better further south."

So, if you like okra, and you want to grow it, check out the seed from Fedco Seeds!  We can vouch for its size, tenderness and taste out here JOTOLR! 

Sorry, Clemson!  Back to the drawing board for you!

And a closing sunset for today--it was spectacular last night!  This is our peach tree in silhouette.


  1. Elora -- I do not grow Okra but I do know someone who does and I will make the recommendation to her. A million years ago I used to make a holiday stew with okra that was very tasty, Perhaps you can share some ways to use okra. -- barbara

  2. Barbara,

    I use okra in small amounts, adding it to soups, stews, maybe even as a garnish to a casserole, if I get so fancy!! (Rarely!) Fresh, okra is delish fried or microwaved. I am not a fan of boiled okra, though. Tends to be....the polite term is mucilagenous ...or, translated: slimy! It's really good when it's young, tender and fully of garden flavor. Lots of people make gumbo, and that usually includes okra. It's a different-tasting veggie. Reminds me somewhat of artichokes, for some reason!

  3. Good grief! That's HUGE!

    I grow a very attractive red okra -- I love it in soups and gumbos and vegetable melanges. But those look big enough to stuff. Wow! I may have to try these bad boys next year.

  4. I've never tasted okra and only seen it in Carribean vegetable shops in London.Can I offer instead laver, a localy speciality - a seaweed that is boiled and then usually fried with bacon for breakfast though I've never eaten that either.

  5. Barbara,
    I meant to mention, too, that we dry our okra. It re-hyrates easily, esp. in a soup. Keeps beautifully. I find more and more ways to use that dehydrator! (and when I bought it I was definitely skeptical!)

    BTW I tried to post a comment on your blog and again, Blogger said "No" to me. I'll go back and try again! :-))))


    What a great, creative way to think about serving these giants! Stuffing them would be perfect! A little extra work, but what an exotic thing to serve--esp. to company! :-))They hold together just fine. Even so, they are very tender--surprisingly so.

    BTW--I know probably had some "es's" in the wrong place in my post today. Hope you can get beyond those awful typos...;-(


    When we lived in Southeast Alaska, our Native Alaskan friends showed us how to use a type of seaweed that is like a salty asparagus. Sounds like your seaweed. It's an "acquired" taste, IMHO but, if one doesn't have much in the way of green things to eat, it's passable. It, too, is somewhat mucilagenous, but not quite as much as okra (boiled). The Native Alaskans actually can it every year to last the winter and eat it much like we would eat canned greens.