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Though believed to be native to China, mizuna is deemed a Japanese green and has been cultivated there since ancient times. Chewing the crisp, tender green leaves of this cool-season cruciferous vegetable causes the breakdown of sulfur-containing compounds into isothiocyanates, substances shown in a number of studies to reduce the risk of breast, lung and colorectal cancers.
Market Names: Japanese mustard greens, California peppergrass, potherb mustard
In Season: Peak season is fall, but mizuna can be found year-round in some areas at specialty food stores and Asian markets.
Store It: Refrigerate unwashed mizuna in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper for up to 5 days.
Eat It: These peppery leaves can be eaten raw in salads, tossed into pasta or puréed into a pesto. Mizuna is also popular in stir-fries, though the stems and leaves should be prepared separately due to the variability in cooking times.
Prep It: Fill a large bowl or kitchen sink with cool water. Add the greens to the water and use your hands to gently shake away any dirt. Remove and pat the leaves dry between kitchen towels.
Health Benefits: These dark, chlorophyll-rich greens are bursting with nutrients such as folate, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Folate is essential for the production of red blood cells while the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene protect against disease by scavenging free radicals.
See alsoFarmers’ Market Produce Guide