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These "good luck greens" are seriously underrated.

By Melanie Fincher
Updated December 02, 2020
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From kale to collard, greens are back in fashion. But there's one kind that could use a little more love, and that's mustard greens. Packed with nutrients and antioxidants, mustard greens have a peppery taste that adds dimension to any dish.

These greens are used widely in the American South, as well as in Chinese and French cuisine. They come from the same plant as mustard seeds, and can range in color from green to purple. In the U.S., the most common type is green in color with a wrinkled texture.

They're in peak season January through April — making them perfect to incorporate into your New Year healthy eating plan. Learning to cook mustard greens is easier than you think. Read on to learn how to pick, store, and cook mustard greens.

Why Do We Eat Greens on New Year's Day?

New Year's Day is perhaps the most superstitious day of the year for folks in the South. When what you have for supper is supposed to determine your fate for the next year, you better get it right.

You've probably heard of black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year's Day, but greens are said to bring financial prosperity (the other kind of green) in the coming year. Although traditionally collard greens are the most popular, mustard greens bring a unique bite to any dish.

How to Pick and Store Mustard Greens

In general, you'll want to pick mustard greens that are lively and appear healthy. If you're looking to get a more mild taste from your mustard greens, pick leaves that are smaller and more tender. A larger leaf is going to be more pungent.

To store mustard greens, wrap them in a damp paper towel and keep them in the fridge. Stored this way, they should last about a week. Don't rinse them until you're ready to use them, as this will cause them to wilt faster.

How to Cook Mustard Greens

There's more than one way to cook mustard greens. You can boil, steam, sauté, and even microwave collard greens. Sautéing is the best method for maximum flavor, as it will help to preserve the taste and texture (nobody likes mushy, flavorless greens). Adding salt and fat will help balance the bitterness of the greens. Follow these steps based on this Delicious Mustard Greens recipe for simple, yet flavorful mustard greens.

Delicious Mustard Greens
Pictured: Delicious Mustard Greens | Photo by Laura

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons bacon bits
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1-2 bunches mustard greens
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

Instructions:

  1. Rinse mustard greens in cold water. Shake off the excess water and pat dry with a paper towel. This will prevent the greens from steaming in the skillet.
  2. Remove the thick stems for the greens, and chop the greens into bite size pieces.
  3. Heat the cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  4. Stir in the bacon and garlic, cooking for about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the greens, and sprinkle with onion powder.
  6. Cook until greens are tender, about 3 minutes.
  7. Drizzle with fish sauce, stir, and serve.

More Ways to Cook Mustard Greens

1. Potato and Mustard Greens Salad

Chef John says, "This is no beginner's potato salad. Mustard greens are spicy, slightly bitter, and not at all subtle."

2. Braised Leeks and Mustard Greens

"Mustard greens, where have you been all my life?" says recipe creator Gardener98. "The earthy, mild onion flavor of leeks combined with the spicy kick of mustard greens braised in a buttered broth makes for a simple and tasty side dish."

3. Curried Mustard Greens with Kidney Beans

Reviewer amy-amanda says, "I found this recipe while searching for a good way to enjoy mustard greens without all the bacon drippings (I'm a vegetarian). Let me tell you—this recipe is a huge favorite with both myself and my husband (who is an omnivore)."

4. Asian-Inspired Mustard Greens

"I'm usually not a fan of mustard greens because of the bitterness, but this is how I always fix them now," says reviewer cswords. "Great recipe! My 1-year-old really likes them too!"

Asian-Inspired Mustard Greens
Photo by alanna