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okra

Posted 11/14/2014 6:04pm by Judy Lessler.

  Ann Silverman, my neighbor and a local artist who makes paper out of unusual materials and is going to make paper with our okra. When I started reading about how paper was discovered and its history, I kept wandering through the internet and reading about other writing materials. The firsts were barks and stones and this was followed by papyrus (Egyptians) and clay tablets (Sumerians), both in around 3000 BC.

Then I discovered that, people needed writing material because with the start of the Neolithic revolution (farming + towns) there was a need to keep track of the sale and distribution of surplus agriculture products. Thus, changes in agricultural production drove the creation of writing.  Most of the original written materials were accounting records. Only later did we write about or loves and the beauty of butterflies. I do not think that the Sumerians or Egyptians of 5000 BC were insensitive to love and butterflies. My guess is that they felt that these were topics for songs and poetry spoken face to face. Marks on tablets and papyrus scrolls were for tallying the beer and barley.   

Below is a picture of a piece of okra paper that Ann made a re weeks ago. She harvested the okra stalks, steamed, stripped the leaves, and scraped off the brown bark.  She then cooked it in a caustic bath for three hours to separate the fibers.  These were washed, beaten, and spread on a felt, and dried.  

okra paper

The next picture is a paper sculpture of books within a book that she made sometime ago.  It was exhibited in the Man Bites Dog Theater on Foster Street. 

 

At piece by Ann Silverman

Posted 9/15/2014 12:55pm by Judy Lessler.

Okra grows in the field from summer until frost. It is at its peak when it the weather is hot, hot, hot, but will continue to produce during the chiller days. Because of this, you can find in season okra just when the farmers' markets and CSA boxes in our area start also having salad mix. A green salad with Okra Croutons can be the center piece in many easy meals. For example, try it with a grilled cat fish or hamburgers. If you have small amounts of okra, you can use it in cornbread or corn muffins. At the Burkville Alabama Okra Festival I had corn muffins with hot pepper and okra. You could use a muffin mix and add the jalapeno and the okra. I would not use more than half a jalapeno pepper with the seeds removed and finely chopped. After all you do not want to look over and find your spouse or children picking through their muffin to remove the jalapeno.  

Another great recipe for okra and late season eggplant comes from Virginia Willis's wonderful okra cookbook. It is a large recipe and makes use of both okra and eggplant and would be good choice for entertaining. I modified it a bit to fit with the oriental eggplant that HCF CSA customers get in their boxes. Iranian Okra Khoresh.

Tags: eggplant, okra
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