A Beginner’s Guide to Mustard Greens

The assertive spicy flavor of mustard greens is beloved by some and underappreciated by many. The pungent bitter flavor of mustard greens increases the longer you chew them, making them a polarizing ingredient. With the right preparation, and a subtle hand, mustard greens can be a delicious ingredient well worth incorporating into your next meal.  

History of Mustard Greens

Mustard greens first originated in the Himalayan region of India and have been consumed for over 5,000 years. The first domestic variety of mustard greens was cultivated in Sichuan, China. Today, India, China, and Japan produce and consume the greatest amount of mustard greens.

Appearance Of Mustard Greens

Mustard greens have broad and wavy frilled leaves that are deep green in color. The upright leaves have longitudinal veins and are supported by coarse stems that are very fibrous.

Image Credit: Flickr user Glory FoodsCC BY 2.0 )

Flavor Of Mustard Greens

The smaller leaves of the mustard greens are tender and have a subtly spicy taste. The larger mustard greens need to be cooked and possess a succulent yet crunchy texture. They have a robust flavor between that of pepper and horseradish.

Culinary Benefits of Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are used in raw and cooked preparations depending on the maturity of the leaves. They pair well with rich meats like lamb, sausages, and pork. Mustard greens would be a great addition to this winter steak salad for their subtle bitterness and peppery flavor. 

Mustard greens go well with creamy sauces and melting cheese as well. Pair them with fruits such as peaches, apples, and oranges to enjoy a sweet-spicy delicacy. Use mustard greens in this delicious and creamy recipe in place of spinach. 

You can also use mustard greens in a variety of  salads. Try adding a handful of mustard greens to our Lemon Herb Chicken Salad for an added pop of flavor. 

Mustard plant seeds can be sprouted and used as a spice in various dishes, especially Indian dishes. They can also be used to make the eponymous condiment or in pickling brine.


Mustard greens can be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for 3 to 4 days. Do not store them for more than 4 days because their taste deteriorates substantially. 

To store them for a longer time, wash and pick out the good mustard greens and boil them for three minutes. Remove the greens from boiling water and cool them in ice water immediately. Drain the water and place the greens in the freezer bags.

Feature Image: Flickr user SaucyGloCC BY 2.0 )

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