Are you looking for something new to spice up your kitchen creations? Look no further, mustard greens are the answer! These versatile greens can be used in many dishes, and are in season right now! 

 

What are mustard greens?

“Mustard greens” is the general term describing a plethora of varieties of leaves from a mustard plant. Yes, the same plant that produces seeds used in your favorite or not so favorite condiment. The vegetable is a member of the cruciferous family, along with brussel sprouts and cauliflower, just to name a few. You probably recognize the term cruciferous, but you may also hear these greens referred to by their scientific family, Brassica, which is Latin for “cabbage”. 

 

What do mustard greens look like?

Many varieties of mustard greens live up to their name and give off a vibrant green color. Green variations you may encounter include Mizuna, Tatsoi, Gai Choy, and Curled-Leaf Mustard. However, mustard greens don’t have to be green. Some are red or purple. Varieties in these colors that you might see are Ruby Streaks, Purple Osaka, Garnet Giant, and Japanese Red. In addition to color variations, the leaves are also diverse in shapes. Some may be flat, others crumpled, and some even lacy edged. No matter which variety you choose, it will certainly add a pop of color to your meals!

Mizuna

Tatsoi

Gai Choy

Why try mustard greens?

 As you’ve been told time after time to eat your vegetables, the same goes for this plant: Eat your mustard greens! They are an excellent source of key vitamins, particularly K, A, C, and E. Along with those, mustard greens are a great source of phytonutrients, which are being studied as a contributor to disease prevention. 

 

Can I find them in Ohio?

Grown in the cool seasons, mustard greens production in the United States is primarily in the northwest, but still can thrive here in Ohio. It has a relatively short growing season as well, taking about 80-95 days to mature, depending on the variety. The demand for mustard greens still falls short of its fellow cruciferous vegetables, but they still remain a hot item for many southern shoppers. Steaming, braising, and sautéing are all popular methods of cooking the perfect southern greens recipes. 

What should you look for when picking out mustard greens? First, avoid any plants that have seeds or have already flowered for the best taste. Second, look at the leaves. Ideally, they should look crisp and fresh, and be absent of yellow or brown blemishes. Once you make your purchase, it is recommended to store them in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator for maximum freshness. 

 

Okay, I bought some. Now what?

If a strong flavor is what you seek, try eating the greens raw. They are packed with a peppery flavor. For a milder taste, choose leaves that haven’t been growing as long. As always, cooking down the greens will subdue some of the flavor as well. Some recipes suggest adding salt or sugar to the greens to offset the natural flavor of the plant, but be sure to give them a taste first! It might be exactly the flavor you are looking for. 

How will you add them to your table this month? Salads are the easiest way, but you can also try stir frys, soups, and pastas! Check out our recipes below to give you some inspiration!

Mizuna & Beef Stir Fry (Countryside Original Recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz Beef (thinly sliced)

  • 1 cup Mizuna

  • 2 tsp Ginger Root, grated

  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce

  • Oil, as needed

Method:

  1. Heat a bit of oil in a stir fry pan over high heat. Add beef to the pan.

  2. Mix together soy sauce and ginger. Pour over beef. Continue to cook until the internal temperature of the beef is at least 145°F.

  3. Add the mizuna and any other vegetables you may prefer to the pan. Add about a ¼ cup of water. Let water evaporate and the mizuna wilt. 

  4. Serve with noodles or rice, and a sauce if desired. 

Greens, Eggs, and Ham (Countryside Original Recipe)

Ingredients:

  • Mustard Greens of Choice

  • Eggs

  • Ham (cooked)

  • Salt

*measurements left up to the cook and his/her preferences

Method:

  1. Crack eggs into a bowl and scramble until yolks are broken. Add about 2 Tbsps of water and mix.

  2. In a small pan, wilt greens using a small amount of water. When the water evaporates, add the eggs and pre-cooked ham to the greens.

  3. Cook eggs, scrambling as needed. 

  4. When eggs are cooked, season with salt.

Southern Mustard Greens (Recipe from Food Network)

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped

  • ½ onion, chopped

  • 4 bunches of mustard greens, trimmed and chopped

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Place the bacon in a large, wide pot and cook over medium heat until some of the fat has rendered and the bacon is light golden, about 5 minutes. 

  2. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes more. 

  3. Add the mustard greens in batches, letting each batch wilt before adding the next. 

  4. Add the chicken broth, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the greens are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 

  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve with hot sauce on the side.