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Mustard root is recognizable for its frilly green mustard leaves and pale green stems. Similar in appearance to other root vegetables, the taproot of the Mustard plant has a round bulbous shape that tapers to a point. The skin is a light green to pale yellow color and the flesh is a bright white. The Mustard root bulb offers an herbaceous mustard like flavor with sharp and sweet undertones.
Mustard root is available in the early fall and throughout the winter and spring months.
Mustard root is classified as an annual and is a member of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family, botanically known as Brassica juncea. While the Mustard plant is most commonly utilized for its greens and seeds, its large tap root has been gaining popularity on the culinary scene as a root vegetable.
Low in calories, mustard root provides fiber and protein as well as some beta carotene, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid.
Mustard root can be used in many applications where root vegetables are called for. The tuber can be roasted, steamed, stir-fried and sautéed. Slice Mustard root and add to soups or stews. Cook alongside braised meats or roasted chicken. Grate and serve raw with sushi and sashimi. The root can also be sliced and pickled along with other herbs and vegetables, or in traditional Szechuan-style with red hot chili paste. Store Mustard root in the refrigerator for a few days, unprepared.
In Africa, Mustard root is used to promote lactation in nursing mothers.
Mustard is native to the Mediterranean basin and temperate areas of Europe and was domesticated around 4,000 years ago. A cool season crop, Mustard will thrive in moderate climates and with a well-drained, yet moist soil. Mustard can tolerate semi dry conditions as the tap root can grow in length up to five inches in order to reach moisture deep within the soil bed.