Why did my okra change color? There is an explanation.

I found red okra at the Farmer’s Market.  I hadn’t seen it before, so I had to try it.

Red okra skewered and ready for the grill.

I’ve enjoyed grilling okra this summer.  It gives it a firm texture and cooks off the sticky okra juice.

I put bricks on the grill to raise the skewers above the grate.  No sticking that way.

Lightly oiled and salted, the okra gets three minutes a side over the fire.

Even before turning, the okra loses its red color and turns green. How can that be? Doesn’t it realize that is messing up my planned photo by shifting color?

Color transformation in process. Red goes to green.

Friend Darryl Williams wrote in his blog “From the Family Table” about a similar experience with dark purple beans turning green when blanched.  He checked a book by Harold McGee and learned that the red and purple colors of most flowers and vegetables are due to a group of about 300 related chemicals known as anthocyanins. They are very sensitive to alkalinity and acidity as well as some metals, which help determine the color the chemicals give a flower or vegetable. They are highly water-soluble, so when they spaces where they are stored break open during cooking,the coloration is rapidly diluted and dissipates. So, that’s why my red okra turned green! Trust a scientist to find the answer.

The good news is it still tastes like okra. I pick it up by the stem and enjoy it.

Last night, I served my now green okra with a tomato stuffed with green chile krab salad from the meat counter at the supermarket and some family style boneless pork ribs with a smokey rub and last minute brush of barbecue sauce.

The next mystery to be solved is what did I do to get a red tint on the shadows in the photo?


There’s always something!

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