Mustard greens are known for being peppery and pungent (it’s the plant’s seeds that are ground up to make our favorite condiment for pretzels and hot dogs). But when they’re cooked, they’re less bitter, adding just the right kick to vegetable soups or braised beans. And the leaves have about the same amount of fiber and iron as kale—enough to make even the queen of superfoods a little green with envy.
Mustard greens have wide, frilly-edged leaves that look like curly kale—but lack kale’s thick veins. Look for greens with a bright pea-green color, no yellowing or spots, and crisp stems that aren’t thick, dry, or brown. Store greens, unwashed, wrapped loosely in paper towels in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
As a general rule, the larger the mustard green leaf, the stronger its flavor. If you’re serving the greens raw—in our Bitter Greens Caesar Salad, for example—opt for smaller (younger) leaves. Not only are they milder-tasting, they’re also far more tender.
Recipes by Anna Painter