Late summer means okra time

Even produce is wilting under the August sun. Consequently, many local farmers markets are beginning to transition from heat-loving crops to planting their fields for early fall produce.

But okra is still plentiful and will be available at today’s Red Stick Farmers Market at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the downtown Saturday market.

Look for brightly colored, firm pods about 4 inches long with no signs of spotting or molding. Larger pods can be tough and fibrous. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to three days.

Okra can be cooked whole or sliced. It gives off a rather slippery or viscous substance that thickens the liquid in which it’s cooked. It is usually fried, boiled or sautéed, but it is also good grilled. It pairs well with tomato, lemon, onions and corn. Fresh okra is a fair source of vitamins A and C, calcium and iron.

Don’t cook it in aluminum or iron pans, warns author Elizabeth Schneider in “Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables: A Commonsense Guide.”

By the way, the Tuesday Market on Goodwood Boulevard is taking a break until Sept. 24. Likewise, the Red Stick Mobile Farmers Market, which operates on Wednesdays and Fridays, will be closed until late September.