Kumkum Bhindi (ladyfinger) from UP emerging as the new superfood

Red and burgundy in colour, this variety of ladyfinger is aptly called ‘Kumkum Bhindi’. Currently, grown in Uttar Pradesh, this variety of bhindi is being touted as a wonder crop.

A powerhouse of nutrients, the red ladyfinger or red okra sells at Rs 45 to Rs 80 per kg as against the regular green ladyfinger which typically sells for Rs 12 and 15 per kg in the wholesale market.

If this variety gets known as a superfood, it is likely that the prices will get even higher and farmers can hope to make more financial gains from growing this crop.  

Red okra is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folacin and other B vitamins plus magnesium, potassium and calcium. It is fat-free, saturated-fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories. A substantial source of dietary fiber, okra provides over five grams per three and one-half ounce serving. The extra folate supplied by this vegetable is beneficial to pregnant women.

According to agriculture experts, ‘Kumkum Bhindi’ has 94 percent polyunsaturated fat which reduces bad cholesterol. Along with it, its 66 percent sodium content is helpful in controlling high blood pressure, while its 21 per cent iron reduces the chances of anaemia and 5 per cent amount of protein keeps the body’s metabolic system in order.

A relative newcomer, Red Burgundy okra was bred by Leon Robbins at Clemson University and introduced in 1983.  A lot of farmers in Uttar Pradesh are already considering increasing the area under its cultivation this season.

This red variety of ladyfinger also contains anthocyanins and phenolics that increase its nutritional value. The crude fibre present in it controls sugar. It also contains a large amount of vitamin B complex. The ideal time for sowing Kumkum Bhindi starts from February to the second week of April. It can also be sown somewhere around November, the growth will be less in December-January, but fruits will start coming from February, which will be available till November. The prices of early crops are also good.

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