When done right (aka deep-fried, amiright?), okra is a veggie loved by all. But not everyone is overjoyed by its mucilaginous qualities, which can leave you feeling like you’ve accidentally eaten a green bean full of slime.
If that’s you, you’re in luck. Okra doesn’t have to be the vegetable mascot for Ghostbusters‘ Slimer, and these techniques will show you how to keep things from getting too sticky.
1. Freeze it
Some say freezing the okra before cutting into it will reduce the amount of mucilage that comes out when you start slicing.
2. Soak it
Try soaking your sliced okra in vinegar for about an hour before you cook with it. Pat it dry, then cook as usual. The acid in the vinegar can help hamper the slime.
3. Precook it
Try precooking your okra over high heat before using it in a recipe. You can roast, grill or pan-fry it. The high heat can help get rid of the slime, making your okra perfect to use in other applications.
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4. Don’t cut it too small
Mucilage comes out of the okra when you cut it. To minimize it, cut the okra into large chunks, or just take off the tops and leave them mostly whole.
5. Bring to room temperature
Though some recommend freezing the okra, others suggest bringing it to room temperature before slicing. Then, cut to your desired size, and let it sit uncovered for about an hour to help it dry out.
6. Use it in soup
Instead of working against the slime, try working with it. Add okra to your soups and stews, and the mucilage will leak out of the vegetable itself, helping to thicken the broth.
7. Use small okra pods
While jumbo okra pods might look especially tempting, you’re better off selecting smaller, younger pods. They’ll have less slime than their larger counterparts.
8. Fry in a dry pan
Try searing sliced okra in a dry pan until caramelized on each side. Then add it to the recipe of your choice, or serve it with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of salt.
9. Cook in a flash
A final way to circumvent the slime is to simply avoid cooking okra for very long at all. Fry briefly over very high heat just long enough to cook the outside, but not long enough to release the beast within.
Now that you know how to reduce the slime factor, go forth, and try this underappreciated veg. Your taste buds will thank you.