Monday, 2 May 2011

My Lady’s (Sweet) Finger

For most gardeners, growing a solitary lady’s finger plant will not make much sense. Even if it’s prolific, a single plant cannot provide for a decent meal. Yet, if you’re like me, you’ll be happy just to see what it takes to grow lady’s fingers on a small scale. The plant is rather hardy and ideally suited for Chennai’s summer. ­­­At four feet, my plant is shorter than average, but it has yielded the sweetest lady’s fingers I’ve ever tasted. In fact they’re so sweet that they’re attracting ants. If it weren’t for the ants, I’d have had a couple of lady’s fingers every other day.
Lady's Finger Plant

Lady's Fingers: Two of Them
Ants on the Fruit Pods
The lady’s finger belongs to the Hibiscus family, which is why the flowers of both plants are very similar: large, showy with fused stamens in the centre. The flower bud of the lady’s finger is nearly indistinguishable from a young fruit pod. It’s only when a pod grows a little longer that I realize a fruit and not a flower is on its way.

Though I can’t make a meal of my produce, it still provides for a tasty snack, a snack that can be eaten fried or raw. I wouldn’t dare eat raw lady’s fingers bought at a shop. But when they’re freshly picked from home, they’re altogether different. After a blind taste test of a shop-bought one and a homegrown one, I discovered that the two were poles apart. For one, the homegrown one isn’t as slimy; it’s also markedly sweeter. I can’t blame the ants for wanting to devour the fruit.
My Finger and the Lady's Finger

For now, I need to figure out how to outsmart the ants and claim my rightful share.


  1. I just recently tried okra. I bought a frozen veg pack and cooked it up with supper. To me it was delicious, my family thought it was weird. I wonder how well it would grow indoors? It's a beautiful looking plant.

  2. Adele, I wonder how you cooked the Okra. The no-fail method would be to fry them in sufficient oil. Other methods of cooking are stuffing them, cooking them with plenty of tomatoes etc., but these need some expertise.
    Okra wouldn't grow well indoors. It requires plenty of sunshine.

  3. If I remember right it was baked in the oven from frozen, as per package instructions, for about 10 minutes and covered in cheese. I'm sure there are better ways to cook them up but I don't have experience with okra and of the recipes I found only the one I used seemed appetizing. Now, if I had a really good recipe.....maybe something from India....

  4. Okra is a very common vegetable in our parts, but I never knew it could be had baked. Just shows how there's always something one can learn.