Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Japanese Mustard Spinach - A Reliable Calcium Source for Vegans

Japanese mustard spinach (also known as "komtsuna") is extremely nutritious. It is a very reliable source of calcium (31% daily required calcium per cup of uncooked vegetable) similar to milk and 300% daily required amount of vitamins A and C per cup. They also contain a lot of fiber and other essential minerals, such as potassium and iron. 

Don't be fooled by its name. Japanese mustard spinach is NOT spicy or bitter at all. They can be lightly cooked or served in salad. Unlike spinach which has a high level of oxalate (bitter after taste), Japanese mustard spinach is much milder in taste (like baby bok choy leaves but crunchier and more tender if you don't use chemical fertilizers) and does not have the bitter after taste of spinach. If you eat 2 cups of lightly cooked Japanese mustard spinach (equivalent to 4-6 cups of uncooked version), you will have more calcium than drinking 4 cups of milk. Plus you won't suffer from the unhealthy saturated fat in milk. 

They are cold hardy, heat tolerant, drought tolerant (but need water in the summer if there is no afternoon shade). Instead of harvesting the entire plant, you can harvest one outer leave at a time and enjoy eating it from spring through summer. They are heavy feeders, so give them a lot of organic matter. 

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