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Mustard...growing, and pickling?

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Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  Megan on 6/27/2010, 12:14 pm

Has anyone tried growing mustard?

In the past, I've very occasionally used mustard greens in stir-fries, but had pretty much forgotten all about it until I read a reference about it making a good trap crop.

I am looking at this plant as a possible for my fall garden:


Japanese Giant Mustard -- Baker Creek

It's such a pretty plant. I was intrigued by the comment on the website that suggests pickling it. You can pickle...greens? I am curious how you would do that, and what it would taste like. The Blue Ball book has a recipe for canning greens, but not pickling them.
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Pickled greens

Post  ander217 on 6/27/2010, 2:39 pm

The only pickled greens I know about are used in Asian cooking. They are fresh pickles - the greens are covered with a heated vinegar brine and usually refrigerated for a couple of days before using, or allowed to sit on the counter to ferment for a different type of dish. (Think of something similar to kim chee.)

In the South, many of us love our mustard greens splashed with a little hot pepper vinegar before serving, but that doesn't really pickle them, it just gives them a different flavor and covers any bitterness that may be lingering in them.
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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  Megan on 6/27/2010, 2:56 pm

Mmm... kimchee. Thank you, Ander.
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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  Megan on 8/28/2010, 5:39 pm

Next mustard question: How many to a square? One, or can you squeeze in four? :?:
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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  miinva on 8/28/2010, 6:02 pm

I grow lots of kinds of greens, and mustard is my favorite! It does better in the fall than in the spring because the flea beetles love it, so when it cools off it grows much better without those little buggers all over it! We saute onions and garlic, then fill the pan with mustard greens and put the lid on and cook them until they're bright green and still have some structural integrity. My second favorite is swiss chard Smile

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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  Megan on 8/28/2010, 6:10 pm

Yum!! So, how many per square do you do??
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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  miinva on 8/28/2010, 6:19 pm

I do them in all kinds of containers, as well as 4 per square, although they're admittedly crowded. I eat them young and tender, so they don't really get a chance to crowd too close Smile

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Mustard sowing

Post  ander217 on 8/29/2010, 8:30 am

The only way I've ever grown mustard is to broadcast the seed in large beds.

When I sow mine this fall that's how I plan to do it, rather than try to plant a few tiny seeds per square. I like to harvest enough mustard at one time to make a huge pot of greens and I plan to use an entire SFG box for one crop so I don't see a problem with broadcasting the seed rather than planting it one seed at a time.

I always did turnips the same way, and when I tried to plant only a few turnips per square this week, I gave up in frustration because the seeds are so tiny. I had already divided that bed into squares, so I sort of broadcast the turnip seed in three rows per square. I'll thin them as needed and use the thinnings for greens.

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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  Megan on 8/29/2010, 8:43 am

Thanks for your advice! I don't have any large beds free for broadcast sowing at this point, so I'm just going to do the best I can with it. (I am going to have to pull my basil today just to make space for some of this. I've pulled flower buds off it for the nth time!)
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Per Square?

Post  ander217 on 8/29/2010, 4:21 pm

If grown in rich soil or MM mustard can grow quite large. If I were to plant it by the seed in a square I think I'd limit it to no more than four or five plants per square. You could always thin it if the plants grew too large.
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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  Chopper on 8/30/2010, 2:22 am

Are the mustard greens the same plant as the commercial mustard made from the roots?

...looked it up and did not realize this - mustard is made from mustard seeds. I did not know that and yes it is the same plant. Tada.

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Mustard greens

Post  ander217 on 8/30/2010, 7:48 am

Someone eating mustard greens for the first time might find them a little bitter or hot. They have a distinctive flavor and some people parboil them to "take the edge off", while others add a pinch of sugar to the cooking water or add a splash of vinegar or hot pepper vinegar to the finished dish. If you've grown up eating them, that distinctive flavor is what makes them so good. I think parboiling them probably removes vitamins and I'm not one who cares for sugar in my greens. I add a splash of hot pepper vinegar occasionally if I find my mess of mustard greens is particularly pungent.

Mixing them with other greens is another good way to lower the pungency level. They are very good mixed with turnip greens, or blends of turnip, spinach, beet tops, poke salet, etc.

Some years my mustard is milder than others so I suspect the flavor changes according to weather and soil conditions. I've never tried pickling it, so Megan, please let us know how that goes.
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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  Megan on 8/30/2010, 6:27 pm

Recipe??

(Assuming I get a crop, that is! Very Happy)
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Other Suggestions for Mustard Greens?

Post  bettyd_z7_va on 10/14/2010, 3:15 pm

The mustard in my garden is growing fast and furious.

Anyone care to share more ways to eat it?

I'm going to saute them in olive oil mixed with creasy, kale and collards.
I usually add a shot of Marsala cooking wine, a little soy sauce, and sea salt to my spinach, so I will probably do these the same way.

Can I freeze some mixed together with the other 3 listed above?

All suggestions will be appreciated.
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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  Megan on 10/14/2010, 7:07 pm

Hi Betty,

My mustard never got in the ground and I fear I am too late, now. (Anyone have thoughts on that?)

Your recipe sounds good. I have never heard of creasy, though, what is that?

I don't see why you couldn't freeze some. Try a small test batch first, maybe? Let me know how it works out! Very Happy
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freezing greens

Post  ander217 on 10/14/2010, 9:15 pm

Sure, you can freeze greens. That's the best way to preserve them IMO. You need to blanch them first. Collards needs to be blanched for three minutes, the others for two, so blanch your collards separately and then mix them with the others after cooling.

After blanching plunge them into a sink of ice water for two or three minutes, drain well, mix together, and bag in ziploc bags for the freezer. Don't add salt or oil until you cook them for the table.

I haven't seen creasy greens since I was a girl going with my grandma in the spring to pick the first wild greens of the season. She called them something else but I've forgotten her name for them. I think I've seen the seeds in the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog.
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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  Megan on 10/14/2010, 9:48 pm

I Googled and found this description of creasy greens:

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2352/


Last edited by Megan on 10/15/2010, 6:57 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarified)
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Re: Mustard...growing, and pickling?

Post  pattipan on 10/14/2010, 11:47 pm

@ander217 wrote:I haven't seen creasy greens since I was a girl going with my grandma in the spring to pick the first wild greens of the season. She called them something else but I've forgotten her name for them. I think I've seen the seeds in the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog.

And here I thought someone misspelled greasy greens. silly me

I've got some Oriental greens growing now, Tatsoi and Mizuna (sounds like characters in a Disney movie). Also some dwarf pak choi, which is just about ready for a stir-fry. Smile

Temperatures are in the upper 30's the next few nights here in the mountains, but still no frost predicted.

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Creasy greens

Post  ander217 on 10/15/2010, 7:06 am

@pattipan wrote:And here I thought someone misspelled greasy greens. pattipan

LOL. But now that I think on it, maybe you have a point. I think they are also known as upland cress in some areas, and they are often cooked with bacon grease, so maybe "greasy cress" became creasy?
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Re Greens

Post  bettyd_z7_va on 10/15/2010, 9:02 am

Megan, I'm glad you googled creasy and shared the link. So much good information.

I think I would try to grow some greens now if I were you. Nothing ventured-nothing gained. You have the city heat from all of the concrete/pavement that you can use to create a micro-climate. If you can get them to germinate and start growing, you can harvest and eat them through the winter. Find the sunniest, most wind sheltered place and use heat saving methods to keep them alive, such as bricks or water-filled, painted black milk jugs placed around the plants to absorb heat from the sun, and use plastic over them when the temps really dip down. I'm growing them for the first time myself this winter. We will have to share our experiences.

I decided to try to grow greens for winter harvest because of health problems and research showing that greens are such super foods when it comes to health and healing. I'm trying to grow them myself, so I can keep it organic and less expensive. The ability to grow health providing super-foods EASIER is what hooked me on SFG.

I remember hearing people talk about creasy greens when I was growing up, but don't ever remember Mama cooking any.

The only way that greens are ever cooked in this part of the country by the older generation is by using 'fatback' (which is pork skin and the layer of fat under it) to boil with the greens until they are a greasy mush.

YUCK!! There are much better ways to eat greens AND fat back. Just NEVER cooked together in the same pot. IMHO

That's why I never liked greens growing up. I was in heaven when I learned how to saute greens in olive oil!

ander, Thanks for sharing how to freeze my greens. I will try it, since they are growing faster than we can eat them.

DH didn't seem too happy last night when I told him how the greens were taking off and we would be eating LOTS more greens! LOL

pattipan, please keep us posted on your oriental greens experience and share recipes. I want to try them next. (I think I can hear DH groaning now!!)


Sorry I wrote a book. I should never get on here when I'm full of caffine. Don't know when to shut up!!
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