I don't know who else has this problem, but I don't grow a ton of okra because I don't like EATING a ton of okra. But it grows so well here, I like to grow some, and sneak it into my cooking projects in minor quantities.
I have also learned that I like it a lot better when picked really tiny -- like "two joints of a finger" tiny.
The problem: it doesn't keep extremely well, and I'm always walking into the kitchen with a single handful. Harvest small from a small patch and you don't ever get a ton at once.
The only ways I like okra a whole lot are roasted (which heats up the kitchen something terrible and takes a long time, a waste if you're only roasting a handful) or as those snacks sold as "okra chips" in fancy health food stores -- but those are traditionally deep fried (too much oil for me). I have made dehydrator okra chips a few times and they are OK, but not wonderful enough to justify the project.
This year I have discovered that our cheap/tiny countertop air fryer (basically a toaster oven with a basket and high-velocity fan) is perfect for making a single serving of roasted okra or okra chips. I just drop my handful of okra on the cutting board, cut it in half-inch-long rounds, and spritz them lightly with olive oil. (Or they can be tossed in a bowl with a very small quantity of the oil if you don't spritz.) Then I throw them in the air fryer basket, chuck a dash of salt over them, and pop them into the infernal machine. Ours goes to 400 in theory; I set it to max and run them for five minutes. Stir once, another dash of salt, and give them five more minutes. At this point they are roasted to the point where most are starting to get crispy, brown around the cut edges, and quite delicious. Five more minutes takes them to the dry/crunchy stage of a true okra chip, but very dark in color as the deep-fried ones are not. Very delicious either way as a side dish beside any meal or a very light snack. This is something that only takes a few minutes of prep time and can be done in parallel with making a sandwich or any other minor kitchen task (like emptying or loading the dishwasher) so it's extremely time-and-labor efficient.
Made this way these are 100% plant-based (my normal eating preference) and thus perfect for vegetarians or vegans. However, this morning when I came in, I noticed that there were two teaspoons of salty bison grease in the pan on the stove where somebody else made bison burgers last night for a late night snack. I thought about that delicious goodness literally going to the dogs (as it would have, if I left it) and instead I tossed my okra in it. Totally blew their veganic status to hell, but they sure were delicious!
Thats a great idea! I don't know what to do with them either, I've been adding them to my vegetable melanges in small quantity but I think this is smart. I am not sure if we have an air fryer but I know my spouse was threatening.
I have been making fridge pickles from mixes of peppers and okra and cukes but I am running out of space and desire to eat them that way. Mostly space they are very good. I just smash them into a brine for a few days and then fish them out and smash new ones into the old brine. They are slightly fermented as well.
Standing on the shoulders of giants. Giants with dirt under their nails
The air fryer basket full of roasted veggies is rapidly becoming part of my breakfast routine. Yesterday I threw a few orphaned pole beans in there and a couple of thumb-sized peppers that got pruned for being distorted or insect-damaged and having no good future. Today, I discovered that inch-long pieces of the celery-like ribs from big swiss chard leaves also roast nicely. (The chard foliage was insect-damaged so the biggest outside leaves needed pruning.)
Now that a little basket of crunchy roasted veggies has become a regular part of my morning routine, I’ve been trying to open up my thinking about what’s good to throw in there. This morning the experiment was half-green cherry tomatos ... and they were lovely.
Normally I do not enjoy green tomatoes prepared in the usual ways. And I so love RIPE tomatoes that I can’t abide cooking them green.
I have this heirloom yellow cherry tomato (Hartman’s Yellow Cherry, it may be) from Baker Creek. It’s not a good performer for me; it’s prone to various leaf death infections and the fruit cracks with every tiny fluctuation in water. Sometimes the cracks heal, but usually not. If a fruit starts to turn yellow but has cracks, I know it will rot at the crack before it ripens. Generally I just toss these fruits.
But today I thought — what does a half-ripe cracked green tomato taste like when roasted? So I threw three of them in the basket with the okra and pole beans. Roasting them reduced the tartness and they weren’t bad at all.