5 ways to eat ko­mat­suna ko­mat­suna

• The young greens are eaten raw, when they’re mild and crunchy, mak­ing them a healthy and tasty ad­di­tion to sal­ads. The his­tory of

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Plants With A Purpose -

young plants to har­vest through win­ter. Leaves can be har­vested at any stage from baby leaves up to ma­ture leaves that may be a foot or more long. When left to grow to ma­tu­rity, most va­ri­eties will reach 30-45cm, and go higher if left to flower. The va­ri­ety I bought doesn’t give a height and it hasn’t got to this yet, but at the rate we are go­ing eat­ing it, it’s un­likely to ever get near its ma­ture height.

We’re now all ko­mat­suna con­verts. The cook came up with a stun­ning dish which was de­mol­ished by all, and our son – who is a Ja­panese food fan – then asked for more, a rare event.

This is a veg­etable that’s a lit­tle out of left field but worth a try. If you find cab­bage over­done and mus­tards a lit­tle on the hot side, then ko­mat­suna could be the per­fect win­ter veg­etable for you. KO­MAT­SUNA has been grown in Ja­pan since the 18th cen­tury. It gets its name from the area in present­day Tokyo near the Ko­matsu-gawa River. It’s part of an ex­tended fam­ily group and plant breed­ers in Ja­pan have de­vel­oped an ar­ray of va­ri­eties by cross­ing with closely re­lated veg­eta­bles in­clud­ing pak choi, rosette pak choi, Chi­nese cab­bage and leaf turnip. For ex­am­ple, a cross of ko­mat­suna with tat­soi pro­duced mi­s­ome; a cross with cab­bage pro­duced sen­sopai.

Ko­mat­suna to­day is grown mainly in Ja­pan, Tai­wan and Korea, but hardly at all in China.

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