Botanical Name: Brassica juncea var rugosa.
Common Name(s): bao xin kai tsai, cai bai xanh, heading mustard, kekkyu takana, wrapped heart mustard, and yeh choi.
Flavor Profile: Mildly peppery and less pungent than other varieties.
Culinary uses: Pickling, stir fry and soup.
Wrapped heart mustard requires cool temperature for heads to form and is quick to bolt in warm weather. The best tasting wrapped heart mustards are ones that grew quickly in fertile soil and kept well watered.
- Temperature range: 50-70
- Soil conditions: organically rich and well drained soil
- Sun/Light Requirements: full to partial sun
- Water Needs: well water and moist
- Growing time: 30 days baby greens and 55 days for full size
- Spacing: 12-18 inches apart
Problems You May Encounter/ Common Pests and Diseases
Watch for aphids, flea beetles, and snails/slugs.
Storing and Preserving the Harvest
Keep mustard greens in a plastic bag or sealed container in the refrigerator. Regular mustards keep for about 3-4 days but this variety is fresh for up to a week.
Wash well. Mustard greens often collect dirt at the base. Remove any bruised and yellowing parts. Blanch in boiling water for three minutes, submerge the greens immediately in an ice bath, and drain thoroughly. Store in freezer bags. Be sure to remove air from the bag to prevent freezer burn.
Heading mustard with its wide leaves and ribbed stems is prized for pickling. This is my go to recipe for pickling mustard greens as my sister taught me.
Mustard greens (prefer wrapped heart heading mustard variety)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
4+ cups water ( 1 L)
Separate mustard leaves as desired. Trim tough and woody stems.
Method 1: Wash to remove dirt with cold water, set aside to drain. Allow to wilt under the sun/dehydrator.
Method 2: Salt mustard leaves for 1-2 hrs. Rinse under hot tap water. Set aside to drain.
In a large pot over medium heat, dissolve sugar salt in water. Let the brine cool to room temperature.
In a clean container, add the mustard greens. Pour brine to cover. Be sure everything is submerged. Leave the jar on the kitchen counter to ferment for 3-4 days. Taste to acidity level to your liking then transfer to the fridge.