The peppery leaves of the mustard plant are a popular soul food ingredient, ranking second only to collard greens. The leaves are a rich, dark green and have a pungent mustard flavor. Though they can be found year-round in some locales, fresh mustard greens are most abundant from December through April. They're also available frozen and canned. When choosing fresh greens, look for crisp young leaves with a rich green color. Reject those with yellow, flabby or pitted leaves or thick, fibrous stems. Refrigerate greens, tightly sealed in a plastic bag, for up to a week. Wash them just before using. Mustard greens can be steamed, sautéed or simmered. They are usually served as a side dish, often flavored with onion, garlic, ham, salt pork or bacon. Mustard greens, a cruciferous vegetable, are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, thiamine and riboflavin. See also mustard; mustard oil; mustard, prepared.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.