One of our favorite early greens to grow is tatsoi. We sow seeds in the greenhouse in March and when the seedlings are ready, the first batch is planted in the hoop house. Another flat of seed is sown for an outdoor planting late in the spring. Tatsoi is classified as a Brassica and is a variety of Chinese cabbage and commonly known as spoon mustard or spinach mustard. It is a small low-growing plant that forms a rosette of petite, dark green, spoon-shaped leaves. It is super cold hardy, withstanding a temperature as low as 15 degrees F. We can count on having a bounty of tatsoi by mid-April and it does just the trick for satisfying our craving of fresh greens. Tatsoi has a mild taste, much like spinach. Being a plant that likes cooler temperatures ( perfect for here in Maine, yes?), it will become a bit more bitter tasting if allowed to bolt and flower.
We’ll often eat it raw in a salad or on sandwiches, but mostly we use it in a stir-fry or in an omelet. My favorite way to use Tatsoi is quite simple : Saute a medium size onion in a little olive oil, add a lot of minced garlic ( 4-5 cloves), chop the tatsoi (stems include) and toss that in ( we sometimes add shitake mushrooms), sprinkle in a few red pepper flakes, season with tamari and black pepper. We pile this onto some cooked brown rice and top it off with some crumbled feta cheese. Food for the soul! Often during our busy season here at the nursery, this is just what we’ll eat for lunch.Tatsoi is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, carotenoids, folate, calcium and potassium. So good, so nourishing, I highly recommend adding it to your garden repertoire.

8 comments on “Tatsoi

  1. I am in Judy’s camp. But, wow! Sounds delicious. By the time I finished reading your piece, my mouth was watering.

  2. Yum! I got tatsoi to overwinter in my hoop house although it bolted in early spring as is long gone. Very cold tolerant, although I’ve never grown as much as you! I’m jealous of yours!

    • After this last succession, I’ll switch over to some other greens. Less cold tolerant and less likely to bolt. Tatsoi will return to the line-up this fall and keep us in greens long into the colder months ( in the hoop house). Enjoy your greens and your gardens!

  3. I love tatsoi. I planted it in the cold frame in midsummer to extend the fall harvest into early winter. It doesn’t get very big, but the fresh greens are so welcome as the snow starts to fall. Your recipe sounds fantastic. It’s similar to my favorite way to cook greens, which is to saute garlic, red pepper flakes, and crushed anchovies in olive oil and adding just washed greens for a quick wilt. I’ll have to put the greens over brown rice with feta (or in our case, our local water buffalo “buffaleta”). Yum.

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