BY DEBRA J MORRIS
Related to kale, cabbage, and collard greens, mustard greens are the peppery leafy greens of the mustard plant and are used frequently in Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cooking. They are also used in traditional Southern dishes. Cooked, they taste a lot like spinach, but with more body.
There are actually many different varieties of mustard greens, ranging in leaf size and shape and color from green to red to purple. The most common type is bright green with a frilly, ruffled texture. Fresh mustard leaves feature deep green, broad leaves with a flat surface and may have either toothed, frilly or lacy edges depending on the cultivar type. It has light green stem branches.
The “mustard family” is the same family of plants as the brassica and cruciferous family. One of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables available around in the winter months. Its leaves possess vitamins A and K, carotenes, and flavonoid antioxidants. It’s also very low in calories, like most leafy greens.
Purchase mustard greens that are unblemished and free from any yellowing or brown spots. They should look fresh and crisp and be a lively green color. They smaller, younger leaves will be milder than the more mature leaves, so select those that will benefit your recipe.
Stop by J&M Farms from Gilroy at the Martinez Farmers’ Market because they’re famous for their fresh leafy greens – the mustards being one of them. They grow what they sell, so you know you’re getting the best they can offer.
Sautéed Mustard Greens
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound of mustard greens, washed and torn into large pieces
2 to 3 Tbsp chicken broth or vegetable broth (vegetarian option)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large sauté pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant.
Add the mustard greens and broth and cook until the mustard greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper. Recipe: PCFMA staff.