Harvest okra when pods are 1 to 4 inches long. Pods are ready for harvest about 60 days after sowing.
Okra, sometimes called gumbo, is a summer and fall crop. Okra flowers bloom for just one day and pods are ready for picking two or three days later.
- Harvest okra when the pods are 1 to 4 inches long. Pods should be soft and the seed should be only half-grown.
- The more you pick okra the more you’ll get. When picked often, okra will keep producing until the first frost.
- Flowers and pods first appear at the base of the plant and then keep producing upward. Okra can easily grow from 4 to 6 feet tall or taller in warm, long-summer regions. In late summer, cut the tops of tall plants back by one-third and new buds and pods will appear along the main stem to produce a late-season crop.
How to Harvest Okra
- Harvest okra pods using garden pruners or scissors leaving a short stub attached to the fruit. Contact with the stiff hairs on okra leaves can cause some people to itch; wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when you pick okra.
- Okra should be harvested “cut-and-come-again”—that means pick pods every other day so that you get pods when they are tender and taste best. Don’t let mature pods stay on the plant; they will become stringy and bitter, and—like summer squash—the plant will stop producing.
How to Store Okra
- Okra tastes best the day you pick it. Use pods immediately or they will begin to lose quality and flavor.
- Okra does not store well, but if you must keep okra more than a day or two, store pods in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper section of the refrigerator.
- Pods refrigerated for more than a day or two often suffer chilling injury and turn black.
More okra tips at: How to Grow Okra.