Okra: Simple Facts And Uses You Want To Know


Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is a vegetable that’s abundant in Nigeria,

And used in making some soup, stew and sauce.

Okra is locally known as “ọ́kụ̀rụ̀” in Igbo, kuɓewa in hausa and “Ila” in Yoruba.

It is known by other names in other regions of the world some of which are lady finger, gumbo, bhindi.

The botanical name for okra is Abelmoschus esculentus and it’s from the marrow family.

Okra is a tropical crop and grows best in tropical regions such as Africa, Asia and South America.


Okra is often referred to as pod or finger

It’s a green vegetable that’s long, slender and has a length of about  cm (2 in) to 10 cm (4 in) and it’s pointed on one end.

The shape can best be described as tube-like.

The crop is hairy on the head and sometimes on the body too.

When cut into two halves it has small edible seed that are white in colour,

But the matured dry one’s which are not edible are black or brown in colour.

It has a mild taste and a unique slight texture.

It can be eaten raw or cooked

But it’s mostly served cooked.

Okra leaf and flower are edible also and are eaten both raw and cooked.

If you are interested in growing this crop see this article on how to grow okra.

Brief History

Okra has its origin in Africa, and East Africa to be precise,

From where it spread to other regions in Africa and then to other parts of the world.

There are lots of okra varieties depending on the region and some varieties cut across several regions.

Some common varieties across Nigeria and other African nations are: 

  • Clemsom Spineless
  • Darwin
  • Dwarf Green Long Pod
  • Bamia
  • Lady’s Finger

Today India is the largest producer of okra in the world and Nigeria the second producer of okra in the world. (Tridge)

Nutritional  Information

100 g of Okra

Calories 33kcal
Water 89.6 g
Protein 1.93 g
Fat 0.19 g
Ash 0.86 g
Carbohydrate 7.45 g
Fiber 3.2 g
Sugar 1.48 g
Calcium 82 mg
Iron 0.62 mg
Magnesium 57 mg
Phosphorus 61 mg
Potassium 299 mg
Sodium 7 mg
Zinc 0.58 mg
Copper 0.109 mg
Manganese 0.788 mg

Source: USDA


For food

it’s used in the making of soup, stew and sauce.

Soups are usually served alongside with swallow, stew and sauce served with yam, rice or agidi. 

Other uses

The seeds are occasionally used to manufacture oil, and they can be ground and roasted to make a coffee replacement.

Hope this article was helpful?

Recent Posts