Komatsuna - a Japanese superfood!
We're always looking for new and interesting things to grow in our garden. This year, we came across several amazing Asian veggies that we couldn't pass up. Enter komatsuna, Japanese mustard spinach! Komatsuna has large dark green leaves with lighter green slender stalks. It tastes a bit like cauliflower raw, but is mild and slightly sweet cooked. It has twice the amount of calcium as milk and is high in beta carotene, vitamin A, C, and K. It even has an amazing story.
The name "komatsuna" is Japanese for "greens of Komatsu". Komatsuna was grown heavily in the vilage of Komatsugawa, near Tokyo. In 1719, Tokugawa Yoshimune, the eight shogun, visited the local Katori Shrine for lunch where he was served a green vegetable grown locally in that village. After being delighted with it's flavor, the shogun decided to name the green komatsuna, a nod to the river Komatsu, the river after which the village was named. Supposedly, the shrine still offers komatsuna to the deities on New Year's Eve and people on New Year's Day! The offering is thought to bring good luck in the new year.
Our komatsuna was our first spring harvest. Unfortunately, a couple of the plants have already bolted and the slugs have been enjoying a regular buffet with the others. The ducklings sure can't grow quick enough! We can't wait to get them outside in the garden. We still have another month till they can head outdoors and dine on their own buffet of slugs. Anyways, we harvested a couple of bunches of komatsuna last night and sauteed it with toasted sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. It was delicious! I can't wait to eat it again and maybe we'll even make it part of our own New Year's tradition to bring in good luck for the next year.