Radio Website Header-Waves 6 3.0.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

"O" is for Okra

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“O” is for Okra. Also known as lady’s fingers, gombo, gumbs, quingombo, okro, ochro, bamia, and quiabo, okra is considered by southerners to be a delicacy, in spite of its slippery quality. The poet James Dickey once avowed, “If God had made anything better He’d have kept it to himself.” Okra, a ribbed vegetable resembling the shape of a manicured lady’s finger, arrived in South Carolina at the end of the seventeenth century via slave trade from Africa. Best picked when small and tender, when under an inch it can be eaten raw or cooked with its cap on. Its mucilaginous quality is used to advantage when sliced and used to thicken stews (called gumbos in Louisiana and okra stews in South Carolina). Okra is frequently pickled, but can be steamed, boiled, braised, and fried.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.