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Old July 22, 2020   #1
GoDawgs
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Default Cajun Jewel Okra

This is my first year trying Cajun Jewel okra. The catalog description from Southern Exposure says, “Dwarf-type, 2½-4 ft. tall spineless plants produce an early crop of tender 1 in. diameter pods up to 8 in. long.” Well, it might not get as tall as other okras but it sure makes up for it in width! This morning that sucker measured 3’ tall and 4’wide.



I’ve found that it is really multibranched, starting near the bottom. And the ends of every one of those branches is loading up with okra flower buds! I initially missed some of the first pods because they set so low I didn’t see them under the huge leaves. Tender at 8” might be a stretch but my pocket knife has easily slid into 6” pods.

They’ve been pretty dense plants but it almost seems as if it’s starting to open up a bit as it gets a little taller. I haven’t eaten any yet but should have enough coming on to try some this weekend. This one will be a fun one to watch!
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Old July 22, 2020   #2
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wow -- it's as big as a squash plant. Looking forward to the taste report.

I don't have that variety, but when I've only picked a handful, I like to eat them raw in the garden. (Which leads to a question: once they form pods, what is the picking window? I'm not sure if I should pick every one when I see it, or wait a day or two for it to get larger.)
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Old July 22, 2020   #3
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Last year, I grew Cowhorn and Choppee. I was a novice okra grower. Both were great. The Cowhorn plants grew into giant plants and produced well. The Choppee also performed very well. It produced as good and probably better than the Cowhorns. I thought the Choppee okra was better for eating because it never produced the tough ribs that Cowhorn had after reaching four or five inches in length. I only planted Choppee this year by planting seed in the soil. They were a little slower producing okra than last year when I germinated them earlier in pots. My freezer is already full of as much okra as I will eat next winter and they are producing buds everywhere. I've given about as much away as people will want for this year. I've allowed more giant pods to develop for seed than I will need for the next five years. I hate to simply stop harvesting all of the okra, but the option may be to simply harvest and toss. I hate to waste good food.



I've eaten boiled okra and tomatoes as my lunch for the last three days. I hope I continue enjoying it.
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Old July 23, 2020   #4
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Don, add a ham bone, garlic and onions to make a good stew of it, maybe serve it over rice, or even cook it in the rice ( or is it rice into the okra mix???) too. I used to make that leaning heavy to the okra. toss some feild peas in there and it's a good meal, even at room temp/cool, sort of like a salad dish.
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Old July 24, 2020   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
... a question: once they form pods, what is the picking window? I'm not sure if I should pick every one when I see it, or wait a day or two for it to get larger.)
You know, that's going to vary with the variety so you're going to have to test yours a bit to get a feel for that point where they stop being tender and start getting woody. I take my pocket knife and see how easily (or not) it slices into a pod below the cap. I've had some like Jing Orange and Burmese that had pods still tender at 8". Others get tough at 4-5".

Personally I like to let them get as large as I can yet still have tender okra. I call it getting your money's worth!

We like to cook okra with field peas, onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes and maybe a tad of bell pepper or jalapeno together. Good stuff! And can't forget fried, my favorite way. I have a recipe for grilled okra where you roll them in a bbq rub, thread on skewers and grill them, getting a little char on them. They're decent but a bit worky so I don't make them often.

Come to think of it, I won't eat okra raw or boiled (slime factor) so I'll probably not be able to taste test the two varieties!
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Old July 24, 2020   #6
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wow -- it's as big as a squash plant. Looking forward to the taste report.

I don't have that variety, but when I've only picked a handful, I like to eat them raw in the garden. (Which leads to a question: once they form pods, what is the picking window? I'm not sure if I should pick every one when I see it, or wait a day or two for it to get larger.)
Up here I pick every two days, call it three times a week. I'll pick all of the pods that I consider ready from the patch. That is with clemson spineless, double row planted, a foot or more between plants. Generally only picking the lowermost per stalk, if it looks ready. I want to pick as big as possible, while on the young side. A good eye evaluating them is just something that takes some reps to develop. I do eat a few raw each time. They are so good.

With a lot of water, they grow pretty quick, so that might be mostly a fat 4-6". 7-8" are usually a miss from last picking, unless a 6" was had a very pliable nose that I trusted to let on the plant. If I pass on a 5" pod, two days later it might be 6 1/2" and perfect, or still 5" and turning. Depends on the pod age and growing conditions. Picking every one that hits 5" is okay with me, since those extra two days of growth energy will be used by the plant for faster growth of the next few pods.

If it is dry, or late in the season, I have to lower expectations and pick smaller. A 3" pod might be the time to pick, then. Or 3"-4" due to a lot of shade, might be the picking size for that row. They love sun, high heat, and wet.

The last few years I picked up the habit of cutting the supporting leaf along with the pod. I think it was Rajun that mentioned that. It seems to help a lot for making space and keeping track of where to look on each plant for the next pod. Last year it worked well.

I put a pic here to understand the way I grow clemson spineless here in PA. Not a bush with a lot of space all around, but double rows. It probably makes the choice (pick?: y/n) simpler. This is three double rows from a morning this week. They just started producing. In that space I could fit six big bushes, but I don't think the production would be nearly as steady, early, or as much overall. We are getting past the japanese beetle surge here and these are taking off with the recent rain and seemingly constant heat. The rows are close to N-S so that was an early morning shot according to the big white sun-dial.
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Old July 24, 2020   #7
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GoDawgs some of those leaves look skinnied out, some tops ones particularly. Mine usually do that towards the end of the season. Smaller and skinnier. Did that just start this week or were they skinny most of the time with that Cajun Jewel?
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Old July 24, 2020   #8
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DonDuck. I sense your future is to be the choppee okra seed king of the interwebs...wait, no. Not king. A spreader of joy.



DonnyOkraseed!
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Old July 25, 2020   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRinPA View Post
GoDawgs some of those leaves look skinnied out, some tops ones particularly. Mine usually do that towards the end of the season. Smaller and skinnier. Did that just start this week or were they skinny most of the time with that Cajun Jewel?
The one in the photo below doesn't look skinny to me, or are you talking about the deer munched plant in the photo in a different post?

This Cajun Jewel has been so very dense and as it ages it's starting to open up a bit, which is a good thing. It was a challenge to paw through dense foliage looking for pods!

Since this one's new to me, it will be interesting watching it change and comparing it to the Choppee.
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Old July 25, 2020   #10
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DonDuck. I sense your future is to be the choppee okra seed king of the interwebs...wait, no. Not king. A spreader of joy.



DonnyOkraseed!

It's funny, but last year I waited until near the end of summer to leave some pods on the plants to grow huge and dry on the plants for seed. I did it that way because I was advised by someone on this forum to not leave pods on the plants because it will slow down future production.


This year, I simply missed some pods when I was picking early in the season and they got way to big and tough to eat. It didn't have any effect on production and those pods plus many others are now still on the plants maturing into seed pods.


Someone mentioned they only harvest their okra every third day. I do the same thing with my Choppee and harvest everything from two inches to six inches long. I haven't had a single tough pod yet. If it gets longer than six inches, it is destined to be a seed pod.


Like everything else in gardening, you learn what works best in your garden as you go.
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Old July 25, 2020   #11
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No I meant that pic. Here I tagged. Okracuzzz was here. lol

Mine will get skinnier as the season goes on, but they start out full. Many of the lower leaves look fuller on that plant, the skinnier lobed ones look like high/recent leaves. I was just wondering if they were skinnier in general versus other okra.
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Old July 25, 2020   #12
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Quote:
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Don, add a ham bone, garlic and onions to make a good stew of it, maybe serve it over rice, or even cook it in the rice ( or is it rice into the okra mix???) too. I used to make that leaning heavy to the okra. toss some feild peas in there and it's a good meal, even at room temp/cool, sort of like a salad dish.

Hi Imp! Good to see you. I've been missing your wit and wisdom.


I've eaten a lot of fried okra cooked in our air fryer. I've about reached my yearly limit of fried okra. Lately, I've been eating a lot of boiled okra. When I say a lot of okra, I mean a lot of boiled okra. I don't want it to be wasted. I try to vary the things I cook with it, but it always has a lot of cut up tomatoes and sometimes corn and onions. Yesterday, I added sliced, smoked beef sausage. It was very good. I vary my spices to change the flavors a little. I happen to like boiled okra with the slime, but cooking it with tomatoes makes the slime go away so I cut down on the cooking time a little to keep a little slime.
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Old July 25, 2020   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoDawgs View Post
This is my first year trying Cajun Jewel okra. The catalog description from Southern Exposure says, “Dwarf-type, 2½-4 ft. tall spineless plants produce an early crop of tender 1 in. diameter pods up to 8 in. long.” Well, it might not get as tall as other okras but it sure makes up for it in width! This morning that sucker measured 3’ tall and 4’wide.



I’ve found that it is really multibranched, starting near the bottom. And the ends of every one of those branches is loading up with okra flower buds! I initially missed some of the first pods because they set so low I didn’t see them under the huge leaves. Tender at 8” might be a stretch but my pocket knife has easily slid into 6” pods.

They’ve been pretty dense plants but it almost seems as if it’s starting to open up a bit as it gets a little taller. I haven’t eaten any yet but should have enough coming on to try some this weekend. This one will be a fun one to watch!

It looks like you have some snail holes in a few of your leaves. I fought them early in this season, but stopped when I realized the holes were not effecting the plants over all.
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Old August 1, 2020   #14
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Don, if you are grilling anything, grill some of hat okra, it's real good. I just cut a slit in the side to let steam out and marinade them in a dab of oil and vinegar dressing of what ever is on hand, then grill them until tender.



Don't mind the slime thing and yes, sure will eat boiled okra, but I can't look at the slime, LOL!! almost any acid will cut the slime in okra. Give a quick fridge pickled okra and thin cut onions a try, that is also good.
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Old August 5, 2020   #15
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50% water, 50% vinegar? How long in the fridge? I have pickled stuff in the past, but it isn't my greatest skill. Most summers I look forward to quiick pickled garden onion slices and garden cucumber slices in the fridge.
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