Greens, Oriental

Tatsoi Green

(B. rapa) A distinctly different kind of Asian green, tatsoi is a small, spoon-shaped green that delivers a unique flavor experience. A stocky plant similar to bok choy, tatsoi is native to China where it is believed to have been cultivated since 500 AD. This unique, low-growing green made its way to Japan during the early Showa period (1312-1317) where the signature mellow, almost creamy, flavor was refined. A dependable source of vitamins in cool winter months, the dark, green leaves of this squat plant can often be found poking out from beneath a blanket of snow on Japanese farms. Tatsoi is modest in size, but it is extremely cold tolerant withstanding temperatures down to 15 degrees F! Tatsoi tends to grow low to the ground when planted in fall for winter harvests, responding to cool temperatures and hunkering down to tolerate the cold. These greens are typically harvested several times with a sharp knife, low at the base, and are ideal for ‘cut-and-come’ again harvesting. Seeds are typically planted just after the last frost for spring planting (Planting before last frost will result in premature bolting). Those spring-sown greens will grow more upright than their winter counterparts but are just as suitable for several harvests. To ensure a steady supply all year long, tatsoi is succession planted from spring through fall. Tatsoi can be harvested in every stage from microgreen, to baby leaf and mature heads; however, it is noted that the greens in the baby stage are most heat tolerant, resulting in farmers in warmer locations planting several spring successions close together and harvesting younger greens - Tatsoi is also a heat-tolerant green. The mild, mustard flavored tatsoi is a staple in Asian soups and stir fry, but it should be noted that this mild green is versatile enough to be considered a spinach substitute, excellent eaten raw, especially in salad mixes. When cooked, the greens are added at the very end to retain their delicate flavor and crunch. Tatsoi is an excellent addition to salad blends adding a crunchy, texture element. Work this cold hardy green into your fall garden lineup; enjoying the benefits of potent, homegrown nutrition all winter long. This delightful, antique, Asian green will shine through the toughest winters, bringing a healthy dose of those much-needed vitamins and minerals.


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