Why do you put vinegar in boiled okra?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

There are a few reasons why some people choose to add vinegar to boiled okra. One of the main reasons is to help reduce the sliminess that is often associated with okra. Okra contains a substance called mucilage, which is a thick, gel-like substance that can become quite slimy when cooked. This sliminess can be off-putting to some people, so adding vinegar to the cooking process can help to reduce it.

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which acts as a natural acidifier. When added to the okra, the acid in the vinegar helps to break down the mucilage, reducing its sliminess. This can result in a less slimy texture and a more pleasant eating experience.

Another reason for adding vinegar to boiled okra is to help enhance its flavor. Okra has a mild, slightly earthy taste, and the addition of vinegar can help to brighten and balance out the flavors. The acidity of the vinegar can add a tangy and slightly acidic note to the okra, which can complement the other ingredients in the dish.

Additionally, vinegar can also help to preserve the vibrant green color of the okra. When okra is cooked, it can sometimes turn a dull and slightly brownish color. By adding vinegar to the cooking process, you can help to maintain the bright green color of the okra, making it visually more appealing.

It’s worth noting that not everyone adds vinegar to their boiled okra, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some people enjoy the natural sliminess of okra and find it adds to the overall texture of the dish. Others may prefer to cook okra without vinegar to preserve its natural flavor and texture.

If you do choose to add vinegar to your boiled okra, it’s best to use a mild vinegar such as white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. You can simply add a splash of vinegar to the boiling water along with the okra, or you can soak the okra in a vinegar mixture before cooking. To do this, you can follow the steps mentioned earlier – pour 125ml (1/2 cup) vinegar into a bowl, add 500g okra, and let it soak for a few minutes before cooking.

Adding vinegar to boiled okra can help to reduce sliminess, enhance flavor, and preserve its vibrant color. However, it ultimately comes down to personal preference, and some people may choose to omit vinegar from their cooking process.