Season for Mustard Greens December - April
Mustard Greens Described
Mustard Greens in American culture are often relegated to a popular soul food ingredient - second only to collard greens - and remain wildly underappreciated elsewhere. With a pungent, peppery flavor, this cruciferous veggie related to brocolli and kale adds a certain pizzaz to savory dishes. They can vary in hue from emerald green to burgundy to a deep purple, but are certainly a misnomer for they are never a mustard color. That said, this plant does produce the acrid-tasting brown seeds that are used to make the yummy Dijon mustard. The vairety of Mustard Greens you are most likely to come across is Mizuna.
How to Buy and Store Mustard Greens
When shopping for Mustard Greens, look for crisp leaves with a rich, vibrant color - the freshest-looking bunch you can find. Avoid those with any yellowing or browning, flabby leaves or thick, fibrous stems. When you get home, refrigerate your greens unwashed in a tightly sealed bag where they wil stay good for up to a week.
How to Cook Mustard Greens
Make sure you wash your greens just before using them to release any dirt particles. Your Mustard Greens can be steamed, sautéed or simmered just as most greens, although a good healthy sauté will provide you with the most health benefits. What's a healthy sauté you ask? Well, it's when you cook your veggies in a little bit of broth (five tablespoons) instead of oil. While maintaining the veggies healthiness, this method also retains flavor and texture. Mustard Greens make a great side dish, often flavored with onion, garlic, ham, salt pork or bacon, but you can also add this veggie to soups and stews, and even salads.
Health Benefits of Mustard Greens
As a cruciferous vegetable, Mustard Greens are brimming with serious health-promoting properties. All crucifeous veggies contain glucosinolates which are phytonutrients that can be converted into isothiocyanates (ITCs) and contain cancer-preventive properties, but Mustard Greens shine with glucosinates, second only to Brussels sprouts. And, a recent study found the cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed mustard greens is second only to collards and kale. It might be time this green earned a spot on your dinner table.
Why Buy Natural and Organic Mustard Greens
Like all leafy greens, these ridiculously healthy vegetables tend to hold onto those pesticide residues with a particular vehemence that is, well, scary. Instead, look for mustard greens that have been grown organically and the only residues you'll be ingesting will be the copious amounts of nutrients provided by this underappreciated member of soul food cuisine.