Mustard Greens

Other names: Brassica juncea is commonly known as brown mustard, mustard greens or leaf mustard and Indian mustard.

General Information: Brassica juncea is one of the greens considered to be an essential element in soul food. Mustard greens are the leaves of the mustard plant, Brassica juncea. The leaves of mustard greens can have either a crumpled or flat texture and may have either toothed, scalloped, frilled or lacey edges. In addition to providing wonderfully nutritious greens, this plant also produces the acrid-tasting brown seeds that are used to make Dijon mustard.

This species is more pungent than the closely-related Brassica oleracea greens (kale, cabbage and collard greens, and is frequently mixed with these milder greens and wild greens such as dandelion. As with other greens in soul food cooking, they are generally flavored by being cooked for a long period with ham hocks or other smoked pork products.

Chinese and Japanese cuisines make much more use of mustard greens. A large variety of Brassica juncea cultivars are grown and enjoyed, such as zha cai (tatsoi), mizuna, juk gai choy, and hseuh li hung (雪里红). Asian mustard greens are generally stir-fried or pickled. A South-East Asian dish called asam gai choy or kiam chai boey is often made with leftovers from a large meal. It involves stewing mustard greens with tamarind, dried chillies and leftover meat on the bone.

Nutritional: Mustard greens are jampacked with nutrients. They provide good to excellent amounts of 9 vitamins, 7 minerals, dietary fiber and protein. And if that were not impressive enough, being a member of the Brassica family along with broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, they also feature the health-promoting phytonutrients known as glucosinolates.

Mustard greens contain numerous nutrients that can contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system, including the antioxidants, vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin C.

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