Peppery, crispy mustard greens, also known as leaf mustards, is indeed one of the most nutritious green-leafy vegetables available around. Its lovely top greens have actually more vitamin A, carotenes, vitamin K, and flavonoid anti-oxidants than some of typical fruits and vegetables.
This crispy leafy green is obtained from mustard plant belonging to the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage,broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc. Scientific name: Brassica juncea.
The mustard plant is native to sub-Himalayan plains of the Indian sub-continent, commonly cultivated for its leaves and oil seeds since ancient times. Mustards are cool season winter crop. Their tender, crispy leaves are more flavorful which last from November until March.
Several cultivars of leaf mustards exist. In general, its young tender green leaves, which used as green-leafy vegetables, are gathered when the plant reaches about 2 feet tall. If left alone, it continues to grow, reaches about 4-5 feet in height and bears golden yellow flowers which subsequently develop into mustard seed pods.
Fresh mustard leaves feature deep green, broad leaves with flat surface and may have either toothed, frilly or lacy edges depending up on the cultivar type. Its light-green stem branches out extensively into many laterals.
Mizuna or japanese mustard (Brassica rapa subsp. nipposinica) is a close cultivar type in Brassica rapa group of leafy greens.
Mustard seeds used as condment spice are being used extensively in cooking as well as in oil production in many parts of South-Asian regions.
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