How to Prep and Store Japanese Mustard Spinach 'Komatsuna'

Here is a less than 2 minute video showing you how to wash and cut komatsuna!


What you see on the label at the Farmer's Market:
Kanji: 小松菜
Hiragana: こまつな
Katakana: コマツナ
Seasonal Harvesting Period: Winter

The Basics:

Komatsuna is a kind of 'tsukena', or 'greens for pickling'. Tsukena plants are leafy vegetables that belongs to the Brassicaceae genus Brassica, which includes bok choy and mustard greens. Komatsuna was originally a specialty of the Komatsugawa district of Tokyo, but is now cultivated in a wide range of areas all over Japan.

Komatsuna is just as nutritious as spinach, has a smooth taste and is easy to eat. It is a convenient vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes such as pickles, stir-fried food, simmered food and soup ingredients.

Komatsuna has less lye (bitter tasting scum that comes out of most veggies when cooking), so you can fry it as it is. It is suggested to soak it or boil it quickly for a short period time to suppress the loss of vitamin C. Do not overcook it to keep its vibrant, green color!

Nutritional Info:

When Boiled: β-carotene equivalent (3100mcg), vitamin C (21mg), vitamin K (320mcg), calcium (150mg), iron (2.1mg), total dietary fiber (2.4g)

Common ailments it is helpful towards: colds, anemia, cancer prevention, hypertension, myocardial infarction prevention, cerebral infarction prevention, arteriosclerosis prevention

Komatsuna is rich in β-carotene and vitamin C. It is said that β-carotene is converted to vitamin A when necessary in the body and has the effect of protecting the skin and mucous membranes. In addition, it is said that it has a preventive effect on cancer and colds due to its antioxidant effect, and it can be expected to have a synergistic effect with vitamin C to improve immunity and beauty.

It contains a lot of calcium, so it is good for maintaining the health of teeth and bones. It also contains iron, which is effective in preventing anemia, and potassium, which is effective in suppressing the rise in blood pressure. Above all, the content of calcium and iron is about twice that of spinach!

How to Wash and Cut:

Wash the vegetable well all over. Pay close attention to where the stalks come together as dirt easily accumulates inside. If you prefer to separate each stalk, you can easily wash the bottom where dirt may still be. 

Cut off any brown, stringy roots that may still be attached. There is no need to cut off the area where the stalks come together unless you prefer. If you cut it horizontally like the picture below, check in between where the stalks come together one more time to see if any dirt is left behind.


3 Ways to Cut Komatsuna:
Top Left: in two halves
Top Right: Cut off the bottom stem 
Bottom: Cut into small sections

How To Store:

If you do not use it immediately within about a day, wrap it in newspaper to prevent it from drying, then put it in a plastic bag and put it in the vegetable compartment (or area that is somewhat cool but not too cold) of the refrigerator. Keeping the newspaper lightly moistened will prevent the veggie from drying out. When keeping for a long time, try to put it upright as much as possible. Komatsuna does not last long, so eat it within a few days.

When you have a large amount, it can be stored for a long time by freezing it. If you do this, shortly boil and drain the water well, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in a storage bag. Cut it into small portions so you only take out as much as you need for miso soup, soups, and stir-fry. It is very convenient and will last for 2 weeks.

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