Okra is a fingerlike, slightly curved pod with soft green coloring. When cut, okra releases a sticky substance with thickening properties, often used in soups, stews, and gumbo. Whether steamed, boiled, pickled, sautéed, or deep-fried, okra makes a great side dish. When buying fresh okra, choose brightly colored pods with no signs of spotting or molding. Okra is very sensitive and should be stored in a paper bag in the warmest part of the refrigerator for 2-3 days.