Can my baby eat this: Puree of steamed but unpeeled okra
December 20, 2017 7:23 PM   Subscribe

So I bought okra I steamed it for 15 minutes (including water heat up time) in a babyfood maker and pureed it. Then I learned it's supposed to be peeled first. Is this ok for baby to eat or should I chuck it?

Obviously I'm not an okra eater, but I want to expose my baby to lots of flavours so I bought some. I cut the ends off sliced it up and stuck it in the baby food maker. I steamed for 10 minutes and it seemed like the outside was a little tough so then I steamed 5 more. Apparently the reason to peel is because the outside can be a little tough. So since I steamed the tough out of it and the puree seems like an acceptable baby texture (a little glue-y but acceptably smooth), is it ok?
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Food & Drink (18 answers total)
I'm really not an authority on baby food but babies just eat regular food in west Africa and they seem pretty happy with the okra and tomatoe based stews that they get. The okra is cooked longer (again, it's stew) and okra generally gets that snot like consistency but it should be fine as long as it's cooked.
posted by raccoon409 at 7:29 PM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

I would think it’s fine but: how old is ‘baby’ ? That kind of info matters a bit for ‘can my baby eat this’.

Generally, a given baby will eat different stuff at 1 month vs 11 months old, but if baby is eating other veggies prepared in the same way then don’t worry about it.

There is nothing magically bad or dangerous about the outer layer of okra; I’ve only ever felt the need to peel it when I grew it myself and harvested it very late.

You don’t tell us how you bought it either, that kind of info can also help.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:16 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: He is 7.5 months. He eats other foods steamed and pureed. OK, I thought maybe it might have too much fibre and cause issues, or who knows what. But if other babies eat it, then it should be ok.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:19 PM on December 20, 2017

Response by poster: I'm not sure what you mean by how I bought it. It came in a little foam tray with saran wrap on top.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:52 PM on December 20, 2017

Best answer: I eat okra skins and I also fed my baby everything I ate - no baby food, just normal food sometimes smashed with my fork - and she is now 15 and fine. That's my two cents.
posted by latkes at 9:55 PM on December 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We cooked okra exactly as you described and fed it to babies many, many times. They all lived.
posted by flug at 10:36 PM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

I've never read a single recipe asking for peeled okra, the skin is softer than pumpkin skin when cooked or blended, it would be unnoticeable. Tbh I don't know how you could peel it effectively with all the ribs, you're all good.
posted by smoke at 2:39 AM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am a lifelong okra eater. We sometimes soak it in vinegar first to decrease the slime, but we do not peel it. Your baby will be fine.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:32 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would mash it a few times with a fork and find out if it's too tough when it ends up on the floor.
posted by chiquitita at 4:59 AM on December 21, 2017

How would you even peel it? It's fine. I've been eating it at least that long. I'm wondering if someone's pulling your leg...
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:20 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah I have never even heard of peeling okra. Is this even a thing?
posted by greta simone at 6:40 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

the only time I'd peel okra is when I didn't pick it in time, and the shell got all rough/papery. Only by peel it, I mean throw it away because it is inedible. If it mashed up smooth-ish and wasn't all fibrous, it should be fine.
posted by k5.user at 6:59 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Lifelong okra eater. I've never peeled it. I wonder if that advice is a holdover from a time when okra wasn't as hybridized as it is now. Some varieties of okra can be really bristly (think fiberglass splinters in your fingers after handling), but you almost certainly bought a "spineless" variety. Peeling isn't necessary.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:35 AM on December 21, 2017

Normally I am completely on team "eat it" (though even if you feed your kid all the things as a toddler they can still have a multi-year stage of subsisting 80% on hot dogs, ask me how I know...). But okra skins are kind of irritating to be handled, not in a harmful way, just a bit painful. I might give just a little bit at first, or smear some on your cheek and leave it there for a few minutes, to check.
posted by wnissen at 4:43 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well he at it before I saw wnissen's advice, and he liked it just fine. Much to the amazement of myself and all the non-okra eaters present.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:11 PM on December 21, 2017

I grew up on okra. (I’ve never met anyone who likes it steamed, super-slimy-style, who wasn’t introduced to it as a young child.) If it is picked too late, it will be so woody it is inedible, and no amount of cooking or fussing over it will fix it. This correlates strongly with pod size. Produce sections in regions where it is not commonly eaten often sell inedible okra. Okra doesn’t have much of a peel, by the way—the woodiness occurs throughout. On the other hand, when they’re picked at the right time, they are tender and delicious no matter how you treat them.

Once your kid gets past the purée stage… don’t be too surprised when those little white seeds make it all the way to the diaper.
posted by musicinmybrain at 7:13 PM on December 21, 2017

Another lifelong okra eater. I have never heard of peeled okra! I guess it happens somewhere, but not in my 60-year experience.
posted by raisingsand at 5:56 AM on December 22, 2017

I was at a market two days ago and they had this stuff they described on a sign as "chinese okra." It was straight-up over a foot long! Maybe that has to be skinned?

I have no precise experience other than successfully raising kids, but I think the major worry feeding a baby (other than the rare allergy problem) is choking. So anything pureed is golden. Feeding a variety of flavors is commendable, but you might try the okra yourself. I didn't have it as a child but turns out I really like it.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 9:31 AM on December 24, 2017

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