Nutritional Value & Health Benefits
A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, mustard contains large amounts of beta carotene and vitamin C that are important antioxidants. Although scientists do not fully understand how, these vegetables seem to have cancer-preventive properties. Mustard greens are also a source of calcium that can be important to lactose intolerant individuals. Mustard greens also contain a significant amount of iron.
Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked mustard greens)
Dietary Fiber 1.4 grams
Protein 1.6 grams
Carbohydrates 1.5 grams
Vitamin A 2121 IU
Vitamin C 18 mg
Folic acid 130 micrograms
Calcium 52 mg
Iron 0.5 mg
Potassium 140 mg
Selection & Storage
Also known as mustard greens, mustard is especially popular in southern states. Mustard is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. It shares the same cancer-preventing benefits of broccoli, cabbage and kale. Mustard is a pungent winter vegetable, abundant when other vegetables are not in season.
Mustard greens can be eaten raw or cooked. The young leaves, four to five inches long , are mild-flavored and can be eaten raw in salads. The older leaves taste better when prepared as cooked greens. Avoid yellow, over mature mustards with seeds or yellow flowers attached.
Store unwashed greens in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. They will keep for about three days. Wrap in moist paper towels for longer storage, up to five days. The flavor may intensify in the refrigerator during the longer five day storage.
Preparation & Serving
Freezing is the best way to preserve an over abundance of mustard greens. Like other vegetables, mustard greens must be blanched before freezing. Blanching is simply the immersion into scalding water then into an ice water bath before freezing.
- In a blanching pot or large pot with a tight fitting lid, bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
- Meanwhile, wash greens, trim stem ends and cut into 1-inch pieces or leave whole.
- Blanch no more than one pound at a time. Add greens to boiling water and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid.
- Start timing immediately and blanch for three minutes.
- Prepare an ice water bath in a large 5-quart container or the sink.
- Remove greens from water with slotted a spoon or blanching basket.
- Immerse in the ice water bath for five minutes or until cooled. If you do not have ice, use several changes of cold water or running cold water. Remove and drain.
- Pack cold greens in zip-closure freezer bags or freezer containers. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing bags.
- Label and date each container or bag. Immediately place in the freezer, allowing an inch of space around each container until it is frozen. Freeze for up to one year at 0 degrees F. or below.
- Blanching water can be used over and over again. Add more water if necessary. Remember to always bring water back to a rolling boil before blanching more vegetables.