Did you know that okra is not a native of Texas? I (Juanita) am from New York so until I moved to Texas, I never even heard of okra. Once I got here, I learned that Texans love okra fried in batter. I also learned that people from Louisiana love it in Gumbo. So where did this popular southern veggie come from?
Okra seems to have come from the Middle Eastern area that
includes present-day Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the eastern, higher part of
the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Not much is known about the early history of
Okra was taken from Ethiopia to North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, Arabia, and India but we do not know when. Although it has been commonly cultivated in Egypt for many hundreds of years, no sign of it was ever discovered in any of the ancient monuments and pyramids as food for the departed royalty.
Since the Spanish Moors and the Egyptians of the 12th and 13th centuries used an Arab word for okra, it probably was taken into Egypt by the Muslims from the East who conquered Egypt in the 7th century.
From Arabia, okra was spread over North Africa, completely around the Mediterranean, and eastward. The absence of any ancient Indian names for it suggests that it reached India after the beginning of the Christian Era according to experts.
Although the plant has been well known in India for a long time, it is not found wild there. Modern travelers have found okra growing wild in Egypt and Ethiopia.
One of the earliest accounts of okra is by a Spanish Moor who visited Egypt in 1216. He described the plant being grown by Egyptians, and stated that the pods were eaten with meal while still young and tender.
Because of the outstanding popularity of okra in the French cookery of Louisiana, and its slow gain in popularity elsewhere in this country, it is safe to assume that it was introduced to this country by the French colonists of Louisiana in the early 1700s. It had been introduced to the New World, however, before 1658, reaching Brazil supposedly from Africa. It was known in Surinam in 1686.
Strangely, records of okra during early American colonial times are lacking, although it must have been common among French colonists. It was being grown as far north as Philadelphia in 1748; Jefferson said it was known in Virginia before 1781, and from about 1800 onward several gardeners kept records of it. Records show that distinct varieties were known in 1806.
So now we know that okra is not a native of Texas. Interestingly, it is not even a native of the United States.
David’s Garden Seeds, gardening is our passion. We provide top quality
non-GMO seeds so families can learn to garden and love it. In turn, we
hope they will pass this passion down to their children and
grandchildren, teaching them to grow delicious food, fresh herbs, and
"I bought just one packet of Beefsteak Tomato Tycoon and I never had 100% germination before.Every seed that David sent has sprouted. And the blue colored seed makes it so much easier to see. Excellent quality." --Jack G.
There are not enough characters available to describe the integrity of this seller and the willingness to please the customer that I was blessed with when I ordered from David's Garden Seeds. David has gone above and beyond and then some more to be sure I was a satisfied customer.(I am) I will always shop here first when buying my seeds in the spring. Class act all the way! Thank you very much!!!" --Gail, Texas
"Thank you so much for your generous donation to our nursing home. Your kindness has touched the lives of our residents and staff." --Nurse Carol, Baton Rouge, LA
"Will definitely order from David's Garden Seeds in the future! The
seed-starting tray that I ordered was sent and received in a timely
manner, and, as expected, is very well-made. In addition, the seller
responds to messages very promptly and politely, which is a rarity in a
day and age when a person generally gets stuck on the phone with
elevator music for an eternity!"
DavidsGardenSeeds is located at:
7715 Tezel Drive San Antonio, TX 78250
We are open Mon-Fri from 9am to 5pm.