Tatsoi – Delightfully Crunchy Spoon-shaped Leafy Green
Very cold tolerant and prolific, tatsoi leaves are crunchy and tender with a mild mustard flavor and tangy, peppery notes adding interest to cool-weather salads. The spoon-shaped leaves with crisp stalks are visually intriguing, making it friendly in a number of cuisines and dishes.
Botanically it’s related to Chinese cabbage, but like the offbeat, cool cousin.
Tatsoi is indigenous to China, where it has been grown since at least 500 AD and has been treasured in Japan for centuries. In recent decades it has become well-known and grown around the world.
Tatsoi (pronounced tat-SOY) grows dense rosettes of broad, dark-green, thick spoon-shaped leaves. The crunchy, mild mustard-flavored green is a popular Asian cooking staple, excellent for salads, stir fry or anywhere spinach is used. Once you get to know it, tatsoi will quickly become one of the most versatile cool-weather greens you’ll grow.
Flavor is superior to Bok Choy, and it can be harvested at almost any stage of its growth but is often used as cut-and-come-again baby greens. Use tatsoi as you’d use spinach, fresh, steamed, sauteed, braised or stir fried. Lightly wilt the leaves, then dress with a warm dressing or add to a cold-weather soup at the end of cooking.
Fresh leaves can be harvested under a cover of snow! In warmer conditions, the rosettes grow upright, while in colder climates they grow almost flattened to the ground. Tatsoi is a vigorous grower, germinating quickly. The Japanese say seedlings develop so rapidly you can almost see them grow.
Plants can be harvested within 3-4 weeks of sowing. Tatsoi thrives in fertile nitrogen-rich soil, warm days and cool nights, though it will adapt to loamy and sandy soils.
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