A Japanese heirloom and Asian green, mizuna mustard is as versatile as it is delicious. Also called Potherb Mustard, Spider Mustard, Japanese Greens and California Peppergrass, mizuna has more than 10 different varieties and has been cultivated in Japan for its edible leaves since ancient times, but most likely originated in China. It grows easily in moderate climates and is cultivated all over the world today.
This mustard has long slender stems and bright green, serrated leaves that form an attractive rosette. It looks so delicate and lacey compared to other greens. A tuft of four petaled yellow flowers produces brown seeds that are used to make Dijon mustard. Easy to grow, this vigorous, cold-hardy Japanese variety is fast to reach 12-24 inches. Propagated by seed, the annual will germinate best if you wait until after the last frost to sow in spring. It can also be planted in summer for an autumn and winter crop. Sow every two weeks for successive crops although it may also be grown as a cut and come again crop as long as the central growth is not disturbed. Mizuna mustard can also be sown indoors and transplanted successfully. Mizuna mustard prefers full sun in well-drained fertile soil with lots of organic matter, but summer crops will tolerate light shade. To help reduce disease, do not plant mizuna or other Cole crops in the same location more than once every 3 to 4 years. Harvest at 3-6 inches for salads or larger for cooking. This plant is one of the most resistant to bolting. Fresh leaves will keep 4 to 5 days wrapped in plastic and stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator or blanched for 2 to 3 minutes and then rinsed in cold water, they may be packed into zip-lock freezer bags and frozen.
A perfect mustard green with mild, sweet, earthy flavor, the leaves may be eaten raw or cooked. Mizuna mustard adds color, texture and flavor to mesclun mixes for salads, is a good alternative to basil in pestos and is excellent as sprouts on sandwiches. The leaves may also be steamed with a bit of garlic with baby vegetables, boiled as a substitute for chard or kale or stir-fried in sesame oil with ginger and soy sauce plus cooked in soups, omelets, quiches, casseroles and pasta dishes. Mizuna is interchangeable in recipes calling for any cooked greens and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C plus several other vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and protein. The delicate blossoms also add a spicy bite and a bright splash of color either as an edible garnish or to top a salad.
Mizuna mustard is an excellent container plant
and can be grown inside on a windowsill.
An attractive edible landscaping plant,
mizuna mustard can be used for edging, in flower beds
or to hide daffodil and crocus foliage.