New Vegetable: Tsubomina/蕾菜

Picture taken at Parche Supermarket on March 1st, 2010

Earlier in the day, I mentioned a new vegetable that the Missus included in my bento: Tsubomina or 蕾菜 in Japanese.
The first Kanji character is made up of made up of the character meaning “plant” or “grass” at the top over another character meaning “thunder”. The second kanji means “plant”.

Stir-fried Tsubomina in my bento.

Tsubomina sold in Hakata, Fukuoka, Kysushu island.

Tsubomina sprouts

Tsubomina belongs to the same group of plants as Brussels sprouts, Chinese Cabbage, Komatsuna/leaf Mustard, Broccoli, Daikon, turnips and so on, that is Brassicaceae. It is actually a variety of Leaf Mustard. The latter is a plant introduced in Japan from China.

Picture taken at Parche Supermarket on March 1st, 2010

Although it had been grown since 2005 with various results, JA/Japan Agriculture (Association) officially put it on the markets in Hakata, Fukuoka City in Kyushu island in February 2009.
Due to a certain weakness to insects, it is harvested in Februaray and March only.
Growers started “exporting” it through Japan, altough it is available only in Nagoya, Tokyo and Shizuoka for the moment being. But it is only a question of time before it is sold all over the nation.

Picture taken at Parche Supermarket on March 1st, 2010

Actually the competition is starting heating up for the good of the consumers.
Tsubomina was sold 300~350 yen for 3 small specimens last year. It is already sold for only 250 yen for 3 large specimens since yesterday in Shizuoka City!

Picture taken at Parche Supermarket on March 1st, 2010

Copy of the advertisement appearing in local magazines in Fukuoka where many restaurants serve it in Japanese, Chinese and other foods.

Picture taken at Parche Supermarket on March 1st, 2010

It can be served raw in salads. I tasted it this morning raw. It is crunchy, almost sweet, without any acidity, and eminently eatable.
moreover the high contrast in white and green colours make for a very decorative item.
It can be cooked in almost any kind of Asian gastronomic manner: fried, stir-fried, nabe/pot-au-feu, etc. Vegetarians and vegans should appreciate it as it combines a goog bite, a great taste and plenty of nutrients!

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