Pickled greens


Despite its strong connection to New Orleans cuisine, okra loves dry climates like the Central Valley. As a native of West Africa, it produces showy flowers but sparse pods on each plant. If you can get enough, pickle them to avoid the inherent slime factor, or learn to cook them hot and quick as they do in India for bhindi masala. Lesser-known uses include grinding the round seeds for a caffeine-free coffee substitute and cooking the leaves as for beet greens. Of course, okra is best known in the U.S. as the vegetable that helps thicken gumbo stews.