Also known as ladies’ fingers because of their shape, this is a vegetable that’s widely used in Indian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean and southern US cookery, where it’s an essential ingredient of gumbo. A long green pod with a slightly fuzzy skin, it’s full of edible creamy seeds.

Okra exudes a glutinous juice in cooking which thickens stews and braised dishes. It isn’t as popular in the UK as it is in the US, but is usually available in supermarkets and grocers.

Choose stems that snap cleanly and don’t bend. It can be eaten raw in salads or cooked with curries or vegetable stews – add a handful of chopped okra to a ratatouille.

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