Mustard is a very under rated vegetable in these times of escalating food prices and food shortages. It is a hardy little plant and easy to grow as well as conditioning your soil while it is growing.
The importance of greens in our diet on a daily basis is known by most, but how do we get them when the food sold in supermarkets is old, genetically modified and virtually devoid of nutrients.
Growing your own little patch of food is a challenge for many as they slave away for the system trying to make a buck and giving most of it to the bank. These are the painful realities of our times. Drastic times need drastic measures and the little mustard seed is our friend. A tough little friend. It well feed and sustain you as well as condition your soil.
Planted in Autumn in warm climates and Spring in cold climates it grows away and then self seeds all about the garden under tough conditions.
Mustard is a member of the Brassicaceae family
Brassica nigra is the black mustard seed. It has been nearly completely replaced by the commercial Brassica juncea or white mustard with yellow seeds. This species originated in the Japan and China and is also known as Chinese Cabbage.
Brassica hirta is a spicy salad green also used as a forage crop and its seeds are crushed for oil. It is seen flowering in Winter all over Northern India.
All of these species can loosely be referred to as Mustard Greens and all suffice as a good hardy green vegetable to add to the pot.
They are annual bushes that grow to about three metres when they shoot up their large heads of beautiful yellow flowers.
To save the seed wait until the little pods mature and dry then up end them into a brown paper bag and the seeds will be released into the bag. Thresh and winnow them to clean them up and you will have a good supply of seed to use in cooking and to replant. The seeds can also be sprouted.
Once you have successfully grown your first crop of mustard greens here is a good way to cook them.
Saute up some onions, leeks or shallots in a little oil with chilli garlic and tomato. Finely slice the mustard and stir fry into the pan with the other ingredients until it wilts off. Delicious with rice, meat or ground provisions.
All you need to grow a bit of nutritious greenery to eat is faith as a grain of mustard seed. Give it a go. Once you have your initial supply of seed, save it every season for a never ending supply.