8 Mistakes To Avoid While Buying And Storing Fresh Bhindi

You may be using okra or bhindi every week, but you may not be cooking with the freshest of variants. If you make big batches of curry with bhindi or use them for meal-prepping certain recipes, you must opt for the freshest bhindi and avoid overripe or damaged pieces. There are some common mistakes that most people tend to make when buying and storing okra, which tend to hamper the taste and quality of the vegetable.

For instance, did you know that size is not the best indicator of a good specimen of okra? Smaller bhindi pods are usually fresher and tender. Moreover, there are certain kinds of fruits and vegetables which you should never store next to your bhindi in the refrigerator. In case you use bhindi more than other veggies, this list of pointers will help you out. Read on.

Ignoring Signs Of Stale Bhindi

One of the most common mistakes people make when buying okra is overlooking its freshness. Fresh okra should have firm, vibrant green pods that are free from blemishes or soft spots. Avoid pods that are dull in colour, limp, or if they have signs of decay, as they are likely past their prime. Checking the stems for freshness is also quite crucial as they should be green and not dried out. When shopping for okra, choose pods that feel crisp and snap easily when bent, as these indicate peak freshness.

Judging By Size Or Length

Another mistake shoppers often make is choosing bigger or longer okra pods over shorter ones. Remember, smaller pods tend to be more tender, larger pods can sometimes be tough and fibrous. Choose medium-sized pods that are around 3 to 4 inches in length and feel smooth and free from any stickiness or sliminess. Okra with a slimy texture is a sign of overripeness and can have a wonky consistency when cooked.

Neglecting Discolouration

Take the time to closely examine each pod for any signs of damage, such as cuts, bruises, or insect infestations. Damaged pods tend to have discolouration and they also spoil quickly, which may affect the flavour and texture of your dishes. A good way to check for overripeness is to check for uniformity in size and shape among the pods – go for pods which are similar in size and colour as they were likely harvested at the same time and are likely to cook evenly. 

Always Think Of Seasonality

Seasonality is important when it comes to the quality of bhindi; the vegetable is typically in season during the warmer months, from late spring to early winter. During peak season, the bhindi you find at the bazaar or at the supermarkets is more likely locally grown, so it is more abundant, fresher, and often less expensive. Out-of-season okra may be imported from other regions or countries, which means it would be not as fresh and will be expensive. Though you can consider buying in bulk and freezing okra during the season to enjoy it year-round, it’s best to stick to fresh ones which are in season.

Disregarding Organic Options

Many shoppers overlook the importance of choosing organic okra, opting instead for conventionally grown varieties. However, conventional okra is often treated with pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, which can leave harmful residues on the pods. By choosing organic okra, you can avoid exposure to these chemicals and enjoy a safer and more environmentally friendly option. Organic bhindi is also grown using sustainable farming practices that promote soil health and biodiversity. While organic produce may be slightly more expensive, the benefits to your health and the environment are well worth the higher price tag.

Washing Okra Before Storage 

Washing bhindi before storing it is another mistake that many people make. While it's essential to wash okra before cooking to remove any dirt or debris, washing it before storage can promote moisture retention and accelerate spoilage. Instead, wait to wash okra until you're ready to use it. If it's already washed, make sure to pat it dry thoroughly before storing it in the refrigerator.

Storing Okra in a Plastic Bag

Storing okra in a plastic bag or airtight container is a common mistake that can lead to moisture buildup and mould growth. Bhindi needs proper ventilation to maintain its freshness and prevent it from becoming slimy. Instead of using a plastic bag, store okra in a perforated plastic bag or loosely wrap it in a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. You can also place okra in a breathable produce storage bag or container.

Storing Bhindi Near Wrong Fruits

Okra is sensitive to ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone that accelerates ripening and decay. Storing okra near ethylene-producing fruits such as apples, bananas, or tomatoes can cause it to spoil more quickly. To avoid this, store bhindi away from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator's crisper drawer.