Updated: Sep 27, 2021
My final "grow your own" leaf vegetable this year is mitsuba, or Japanese parsley. Mitsuba is a versatile leaf - in fact it's more than a leaf as you can eat the whole plant, roots included!
- Mitsuba, also known as Japanese parsley, is a good source of potassium and vitamin k. When I planted my mitsuba seeds, they took almost two weeks to germinate. As I wanted a continuous supply, I planted more seeds just as the first batch had begun to germinate. Unlike the mizuna and shiso I've grown this year, mitsuba prefers a shady or semi-shady spot as it grows best out of the sun. I planted most of my seedlings in pots and put them in sheltered spots. I find mitsuba is less vigorous than mizuna and shiso and you have to wait a little longer between cuttings for the plant to recover. My mitsuba took about 2 months from planting out until I could harvest some leaves. (silly me, I forgot to record all this in a video but if you're interested there's a "how to" on growing mitsuba, just click Grow your own Mitsuba.
There are plenty of ways to use mitsuba once you've harvested it - salads (try combining it with some mizuna and shiso in a green salad), in tempura batter, in Japanese savoury steamed egg - the list goes on - (I've got recipes for all these dishes available in the Recipes section of the site if you want to have a browse.) The one thing not to do with mitsuba is to overcook it - it's at its best raw or gently cooked for just a minute or two - otherwise you'll find it becomes quite bitter. I've prepared some simple recipes that you can try out with mitsuba, including a Japanese consomme (Osumashi) with mitsuba, shiitake and tofu (like the picture on the left). it's very healthy and very easy - you can watch a quick Youtube tutorial by clicking heOsumashi with MitsubaShiitake and Tofur. Alternatively click Osumashi with Mitsuba Shiitake and Tofu here for the written recipe
I also used some mitsuba to make a miso soup with mitsuba and the daikon I've been growing (like the photo below). You can watch the Youtube tutorial for this recipe by clicking Miso soup with Daikon and Mitsuba. The written recipe is here Miso soup with Daikon and Mitsuba.
You can pair these soups with a bowl of rice and a third dish for a satisfying healthy lunch or dinner.
Mitsuba is a perennial, so if you do grow some, just cut it down to ground level at the end of the season, give it a mulch to protect it from frost and it should happily renew itself next year.
Happy cooking (and growing)! Kurumi XXXX.