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Cooking Mustard Greens

Mustard greens cooked large

Mustard greens cookedMustard greens have a peppery-bitter flavor—like mustard. They have long been a favorite American soul food and are used often in Indian cookery.

Short cooking is the best way to preserve the flavor and texture of mustard greens. Overcooking will cause greens to become soft and mushy.

Match mustard greens with bacon, cheddar cheese, corn, cornbread, curry, garlic, ham, hot sauce, lemon, onion, salt pork, and smoked turkey.

Mustard Greens and Bacon. For a tasty match of mustard greens and bacon that you can serve next to mashed potatoes: Cook 4 slices diced bacon until brown. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings; stir in 4 cups of chopped mustard greens and 2 tablespoons of beef broth. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. If you like, stir in 2 tablespoons shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and heat until melted. Serves 4.

Cooking mustard greens:

Boil. Boil mustard greens covered in the water that clings to leaves after rinsing. Quick boil until wilted (2 to 4 minutes for 1½ pound of greens). Drain. Shorten the cooking time if the greens start to become too soft or mushy.

Steam. Place mustard greens in a saucepan or a skillet with just the water that clings to the leaves after rinsing, over a low heat. Cover and steam until wilted shaking occasionally to prevent the greens from sticking to the bottom (4 to 6 minutes). Drain and press out the remaining liquid. Steaming may not allow mustard greens to release as much of their bitter taste that boiling does.

Butter-steam. Use leaves whole or coarsely chopped. Butter-steam lightly packed leaves, using 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or margarine. Cook and stir for 30 seconds, then cover and cook until leaves are wilted (2 to 3 more minutes for 5 cups of greens).

Microwave. Arrange the greens in a microwave-proof baking dish Cover and microwave on high (100%) for 5 to 7 minutes for 1 pound, stirring after 3 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 2 minutes.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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How to Cook and Serve Mustard Greens

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