Green slime


Illustration by JONATHAN BUCK

Looking like little green witches' fingers, okra pods are abundant at farmers markets right now. Native to Africa, they are called gumbo in many countries, which begets the name of the Creole stew they often inhabit. Many people fear their slime factor, but the thickener they secrete is just what makes them useful in soups and stews. Make sure to buy smaller pods, as the larger ones get fibrous and tough. If you're squeamish about the goo, cook them whole. You can bread and fry them, grill them with a marinade or pickle them as a nice addition to a Southern Bloody Mary.