This week, let’s look at something a bit different–Japanese mustard spinach, which is a type of mustard green. Mustard greens are as nutritious as kale and have a great flavor. This week your mission is to add some mustard greens to your diet.
Why Eat Mustard Greens?
Its dark green glossy leaves are rich in calcium, Vitamins A, B2, C, K and Beta Carotene. The potential anti-cancer effects of Brassica vegetables have been largely attributed to the glucosinolates they contain. While glucosinolates themselves do not contain many health benefits, they are easily converted into isothiocyanates, phytochemicals with proven anti-cancer properties.
Komatsuna or Japanese mustard spinach is a leafy vegetable which for some people is considered a new Asian green. It is a variety of Brassica rapa, the plant species that yields the turnip, bok choy and napa cabbage. While its texture is like spinach, its taste has a punch reminiscent of turnip greens. Commercially grown in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, its name in Japanese means “small pine tree greens”.
If you are looking to enjoy Japanese mustard spinach here in the U.S., you can find it in our local supermarkets and farmers markets. It is found in Wegmans both raw and in their Fresh Baby Spinach bags which contain an array of Brassica greens including baby spinach, baby greens (tatsoi, mizuna, chard red, chard green, mustard red, mustard greens). Safeway and other supermarkets offer mustard greens as well as other members of the Brassica family like kale, bok choy and swiss chard, which are all healthy additions to your daily menu.
See what Alleycat Acres’ Beacon Hill farmer’s market in Seattle is saying about this great new Asian discovery, “After direct seeding, it was one of the first things to come up. In a spring when even the radishes have been scared to poke there cotyledons up into the chilly, wet world, komatsuna and I have been off to a good start. Yesterday, I tasted it for the first time and its sweet, slightly sour, and very tender. My husband described it as tasting like a cross between spinach and bok choy, but it doesn’t make your mouth feel funny like raw spinach does.”