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Mizuna’s taste is peppery like arugula and slightly bitter like frisee, yet it’s milder and sweeter than either of the more commonly found salad greens. Mizuna is usually not eaten raw in Japan—instead, it’s pickled, stir-fried, simmered, and added to hot pot dishes.
Mizuna is a mild-flavored Japanese mustard that is commonly grown for commercial salad mixes. It has lobed green leaves and a pleasant bitter taste. Mizuna is a close relative to the turnip but has a flavor all its own. Ridiculously easy to grow, it re-grows well when harvested as a cut-and-come-again green. The fringed, serrated leaves add decoration and spice to salads and are crisp enough to hold up to light blanching or sautéing. The purple-leaved varieties are especially pretty when used in cooking. Traditional Japanese chefs tend to pickle the leaves and use them as a condiment
In certain climates, mizuna is a biennial, although plants may go to seed after their first year, if left in the ground. You can overwinter this green in a cold frame, hoop house, or greenhouse, but plan on eating it before it starts to flower. Most gardeners prefer to plant mizuna by seed as an annual, alongside other salad greens. Baby greens can be harvested in about 20 days; full heads should form around day 40. In climates with hot summers, mizuna is best planted in spring and late summer because it prefers cool weather. In places with warm winters, it can also be planted in fall and should survive the winter without protection.