I went to gardening shop today to check out a new display of seeds and, to my great surprise, I sow sachets of ocra seeds. I bought one sachet and sowed two dozens of seeds in module trays. I'm always quite excited to try something new and cannot wait to see how it looks like 'live'. I mean. I sow it only on the pictures.
Image credit: www.greenhousebed.com
In Croatia we call this plant bamia, and is also known as ocra. It is not so popular as in the neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it can be bought on the markets. It is probably brought up here by Turks during their 400 years long conquest of Europe.
Bamia, Abelmoschus esculentus (syn. Hybiscus esculentus), is actually a very interesting plant. The flowers are quite pretty. Many of their 'cousins' from the family Malvaceae (the Mallows) are grown as ornamentals in out homes and gardens.
What I know about ocra is is that the edible pods contain mucus and are used to prepare various dishes. So, the next months I would be browsing Caribbean, Malaysian and West Asian cuisine in search of good recipes with ocra. I wonder what it tastes like. The pods could be dried to preserve them for use in winter.
It is thought to cure diabetes and intestinal problems and is also used in cosmetics to treat the skin.