Mizuna originates in China and is a popular Oriental brassica.
We have a patch to the side of the red rose arbour which was grown, eaten and enjoyed, let to go to seed, self-seed, and we did it all over again. It is presently setting mature seed, which this time I will collect before all the seedpods burst, so as to have more control over where they grow next.
Once sown, it is ready to harvest in 30 days from sowing as baby leaf, or between 45-75 days as semi-mature to full-size heads.
Harvest as and when needed.
Nigel Slater says of Mizuna “I have always thought of spiky, rocket-like mizuna as Japanese but it actually originates in China. The leaves are feathery and open and have an airiness to them that lightens a salad. I sometimes wonder if there could be a prettier edible leaf. They take a bit of chewing, but they are rarely anything but tender, even when they get to the size of a spoon. The oldest leaves might need cooking.
Mizuna is the current darling of the trendy salad bag, though its flavour is on the mild side. I use it principally in salads, to add body and a frilly texture to the mix, but it can be stir-fried very successfully too. Once it hits the heat, the characteristic spikiness is somewhat lost, and i can’t help thinking of it as best in a salad. Like rocket, too much can tickle the throat and cause you to cough.
The plants, which form a bushy clump, can be vigorous and don’t mind moderate shade. They rarely bolt, which is an unusual quality for a brassica. You can sow the seed in spring and be picking – albeit small leaves – three weeks later.” Nigel Slater, Tender, Volume I, p.238.
When seasoning your Chinese greens Nigel Slater recommends “All the flavours we associate with Asian cooking – chillies, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, soy, oyster, hoisin and chilli sauces – work perfectly with these greens.” He goes on to say that “Any European ingredients, such as butter, are somehow just plain wrong.” (Tender, Volume I, p. 240)