Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm Back!

No, I didn't go anywhere. I went to my back yard every day. I picked lots of vegetables. I stayed up late every night - freezing, pickling and canning. I've enjoyed watching the Olympics while I'm slicing and dicing.

I've finished my first "science fair project" using ground okra in place of xanthan gum or guar gum. I learned a lot and I'm ready for my next okra experiment.

Okra, the whole plant, is sticky, gummy. I have to wash my hands after picking it in the garden. The water that I cook okra in is gummy. So I thought the whole plant might be useful. I decided to start with whole okra, dried in the dehydrator. I was too impatient to let it air-dry.

So the first lesson I learned is: Let the okra air-dry. Ha! The dehydrator shrunk it to miniature size. The air-dried pods remain their full size. Since it would have been impossible to get the seeds out of the tiny dried pods, I ground up the whole pod with my mortar and pestle.

This is when I learned lesson second lesson: Only grind the seeds. The pods are too tough and stringy to turn to powder.

For my first okra baking challenge, I used water I had boiled fresh okra in and 1 teaspoon of dried ground okra in my usual lame porridge bread recipe. The texture was slightly improved over my normal loaf. Here is the test loaf:

For my second experiment I will try 2 teaspoons ground okra seeds, and forget about the okra boiling water. I'll let you know how it turns out.

And just because I can't resist, here's a guest entry in the Lily of the Day column.

It's a zinnia with a party going on in the center. Looks festive!

While the zinnia had a party, this day lily decided to do a little sunbathing.


Carrie said...

The bread looks great Kay! I'm really impressed!!

Cheryl said...

if you're looking for a great, non bean based binder, have you tried chia (salba) seeds? they're really quite easy and work well! I wouldn't have thought to mess with okra!