As it turns out, tendergreen mustard spinach, also referred to as “Japanese mustard spinach” and “komatsuna”, is actually not a spinach but in the Brassica family. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale are also in the brassica family and are often called cruciferous (think crunchy) vegetables. They’re low in calories and fat and full of fiber and vitamins.
I’m a huge fan of komatsuna or Japanese mustard spinach, as well as “red” or purple komatsuna (which has a slighter “hotter” spicy taste, because it’s easy-to-grow in any garden or pot. It does not rush to go to seed. It can be planted year-around and I can harvest for months from my beds or pots, particularly in the winter. You can harvest it one leaf at a time to add to your lettuce salads.
Tendergreen mustard grows to maturity in less than 40 days, requires little care, can take cold weather as well as heat (although it WILL bolt in hot weather and go to seed). It’s drought tolerant and can be sown and grown year-around in mild climates.
Husband Don and I are trying to eat more vegetables. We’ve been buying and eating root vegetables from the Cambria Farmers Market. But a daily salad is a must for us so I’ve been harvesting tendergreen mustard and purple Japanese mustard, planted in the same bed and adding it to our nightly salad.
Tendergreen mustard is a Japanese green that can be eaten raw or cooked. It has thick, smooth, glossy green leaves, oblong in shape. The Japanese purple mustard is widely used in Asian countries both in stir-fry and in salads and soups, adding color to your salads. Its tender leaves, as well as its flowering stems, are used raw or cooked and have a flavor between mustard greens and cabbage. It can be harvested at any stage of growth.
Tendergreen mustard (Komatsuna) can be grown in the ground or in pots, in full sun to light shade. Tendergreen mustard requires nitrogen so prepare the soil with compost and use nitrogen fertilizer as the plant matures. It prefers moisture-retentive, well-drained soil. Plant small areas in succession throughout the year to keep your supply constant.