You may have noticed those plants with weird names in Plantui Plant capsule selection: Tatsoi, Pok choy, Komatsuna, Mizuna. Asian greens might seem a bit mysterious, but are absolutely worth trying. Oriental vegetables have a long history. The selection of different vegetables and their varieties is huge, and they are essential in Asian cookery. Here in Europe we should get to know especially the leafy greens because of their health benefits.
The greens of the cabbage family (which scientific genus Brassica) are especially interesting for urban gardeners. Those plants work very well in hydroponics and make a big yield without requiring much space. Leafy greens are highly nutritious but low in calories. They are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Researches seem to show that the glucosinolates in the plants of the cabbage family may have anti-carcinogenic properties. And let’s not forget aesthetics: these greens are very pretty with their shiny green leaves and decorative appearance.
Leaf Mustards: Fringed Red, Red Giant and Wasabina
Asian greens are a good choice for those who can’t wait to see the results of their gardening. These leafy vegetables germinate and grow quickly making a big yield, but they should also be harvested quickly. Unlike many herbs, the Asian greens shouldn’t be left growing for months. They make long roots and will be hard to remove from the device if left growing for too long. A quick cycle suits them best: grow for six to eight weeks, enjoy the harvest and then make a fresh start.
For continuous harvest, pick the biggest or outer leaves of the rosette. You can use the leaves in cooking in many ways: fresh in salads or on a sandwich, or very shortly cooked for soups, stews or stir-fries.
If you like gardening books, I’ll recommend Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Gardening Cook by Joy Larkcom. It’s a magnificent guide for anyone who wants to know everything about Asian vegetables.