Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Mustards

'Ruby Streaks'
Day 100
The Daily DuBrule

First of all, I have to say that I am amazed I have hit DAY 100 of this blogging business. Now onto the subject at hand...

I discovered mustards a few years ago when I was given a paw paw tree and there were mustard greens growing at the base. I nibbled on them and was amazed that they were spicy and delicious. That winter I attended a talk at UConn given by Rosalind Creasy, my Edible Landscaping guru. She discussed mustards and said "whenever you would use mustard from a jar, use mustard greens." I remembered that. 

In the spring, I sowed my first seeds of 'Ruby Streaks' mustard. It was on the top of my list as an edible landscape plant with its ferny foliage and deep wine color. It grew like crazy and I did just as Rosalind said and put the leaves on my sandwiches. Yum. Of course I ate them raw when in the garden and I used them in stir fries. 

The original broad leaved, red mustard that came with paw paw tree also appeared as self-sown seedlings in my garden. That was a few years ago. I have not planted either of these greens ever since! They come up in the early spring and by late April I have enough to eat every day if I want to. They bolt to seed in the heat of the summer and I let the seed pods ripen. Then I cut them off and move them to a new bed and lay them on the soil. By early fall, I have an entirely new bed of mustard greens for free.

Mizuna in the middle of red mustard
Last summer I planted a spicy summer mesclun mix. It was delicious and, true to the label on the seed packet, did really well in the heat and gave me greens for many months. One of the greens was mizuna. This has frilly green foliage. I love it raw but most people cook it. It has returned this spring, another self-sown gift.

So right now I am eating lots of mustard and mizuna from my garden and I haven't done a single thing to have them there except plant some seeds in years past. Talk about low maintenance food production! Nutritious too.

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