Giant-Leafed Mustard


Also Japanese mustard, purple mustard, red mustard, aka takana (Japanese)

Giant-leafed mustards, as the purple-green leaves pictured here are often called, are, ironically, represented primarily by miniatures in the United States. The naturally huge beauties (the bunch on the left is medium-size), harvested when tiny, are most familiar as the punchy little two-tone leaves (bordeaux backed by shamrock—pictured on the upper right) that sharpen so many salad and braising mixes.

Although there are all-green forms of these puckered leaves, the most common are maroon or bronzed purple, or green-tipped or veined with oxblood. As with most red- and purple-leafed vegetables, the coloring comes with chilly growing conditions: If plants are field-grown in cool areas, the red tones deepen; in warmer areas or greenhouses, redness may not develop. For this reason, greenhouse-raised purple micro-mustards are nearly all green (see the fluffy pile).