Not only are Asian Greens quick and easy to grow, they are full of nutrients and taste great! These days Asian greens are readily available in stores but really there is nothing like picking them fresh from your own garden.
What are Asian Greens?
Generally speaking Asian greens are a group of green leafy vegetables that are most commonly used in Asian cuisine. These are some of the most common Asian vegetables used (Please keep in mind, there are multiple name variations for each of the Asian Greens):
- Gai choy – Asian mustard greens
- Kailaan or Gai Lan – known as Chinese broccoli
- Wombok – also called Chinese cabbage
- Tatsoi – also called Spinach mustard
- Mizuna – also called Japanese mustard
- Choi Sum (Choy Sum)– also known as Chinese flowering cabbage
- Pak Choi (Pak Choy)– also known as Chinese mustard cabbage
- Bok Choi (Bok Choy)- also known as Chinese mustard cabbage
(Pak Choi and Bok Choi are very similar)
Growing Asian Greens:
Autumn is a great time to plant Asian Greens because the hot weather can make the plants bolt and become bitter. They can also be grown during winter in frost-free areas. Asian greens don’t generally like to be disturbed so it is best to sow them directly into the garden bed or even a large pot. For a continuous supply of greens sow the seeds every two to three weeks.
Each variety of Asian greens will have slightly different planting instruction but generally Asian Greens require well fertilised soil with good drainage. Keep the soil evenly moist, and apply a liquid fertiliser every two to three weeks. Within as little as 6 weeks you could be harvesting wonderful Asian Greens for your next meal.
Watch out for snails and slugs as they like to have a munch on Asian Greens at any stage. Check plants regularly especially at night after rain. Try using a beer trap or even spreading coffee grounds around your vegetables to prevent the unwanted bugs.
What to do with your harvest:
Asian Greens can be used in plenty of meals such as stir fries, soups, salads or simply steamed and drizzled with a little oyster sauce or sesame oil. To enjoy the best flavour and get the most vitamins and minerals from your Asian Greens it is best to use them shortly after harvesting.
Due to the naturally high water content of Asian greens they generally don’t store well, but if storing is necessary, store in a plastic bag that has a few holes to allow air in and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
Otherwise you can freeze them by:
- Place greens in a large strainer and pour over a kettle over boiling water.
- Refresh the greens under cold water and drain well.
- Place greens on to a clean tea towel and pat dry.
- Pop the greens into an airtight container or zip lock bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
If you don’t want to grow the full size Asian Greens why not have a go at sprouting using the Mr Fothergill’s Kitchen Seed Sprouter and a packet of Sprouts Alive – Asian Greens Mix.