Okra is a fruit, though it is often mistaken for a vegetable. It is a light green seed pod with a mild, slightly grassy taste and a surprisingly high nutritional value. Okra is popular in cuisines around the world, particularly in Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, India and South America. To use okra, rinse lightly and dry thoroughly, then trim the stalk end off and use whole or sliced. It contains mucilage, a naturally occurring substance, that is high in fibre but gives it a slimy texture. The mucilage also acts as a thickener, making it popular in stews and gumbos. For a crisp, less slimy okra, try roasting, frying or grilling it. For a melt-in-your-mouth okra, that doubles as a thickening agent, try cooking it low and slow, in a stew.