Foodies visiting the Kitchen Pavilion during the Denver County Fair will be treated to a cavalcade of competitive cook-offs. A first-class contender for most versatile international ingredient would be the prolific okra pod. Like neighborhood residents, East Colfax okra loves the heat and is a delicious treat when it is either fried or stewed... As seen in the illustration above, East Colfax okra has a reputation for being slimy. However, in the neighborhood that serves as Denver's melting pot, these are the seed pods that thicken the stew.
The geographic origin of okra is greatly disputed, with supporters claiming South Asia, West Africa and even New Orleans. East Colfax okra plants grow well in clay soils, need lots of water, but hate to be wet. The plants produce an abundance of seed pods that seem to grow back as fast as they are picked in the high heat of summer. Pick when pods are as long as a gardener's finger, and minimize the goo by cooking with three drops of lemon juice or a ripe tomato.
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