The Tasty Joys Of Versatile Tatsoi

Lisa Fuller and the mono-monikered Sun with a bunch of tatsoi. DanielLane photos

One Song farm uses organic, bio-intensive methods to grow their produce. No fuel is used to dig, plant, cultivate, weed, water or harvest produce. One Song saves seeds, creating plants that are suited to Kaua`i’s climate. Sun also offers garden workshops at the farm.

What’s growing now: Arugula, beets, cabbage, chard, choy, collard greens, cucumber, eggplant, herbs, kale, lettuce, Lutz beet greens, radishes, shallots, spring onions, turnips, daikons, long beans, taro.

TATSOI

Season: Tatsoi takes 50 days from seed to table and is available year-round.

What to look for: “When tatsoi is firm and rigid on a table at market, it means that it’s a healthy plant,” says Lisa Fuller about the green that is part of the mustard family. “Look at the butt or stem end to make sure they are solid. A beige or light green, gooey spot means that it’s beginning to rot. Stems will have some hollowing and that’s OK.”

Tatsoi grows in rosette patterns

Storage: Tatsoi is made up of a large cell pattern, and as a result holds water. This creates a soft, delicate green. Store whole, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for three to five days. Peel off stalks as needed.

Tip: Tatsoi is a member of the mustard family and has a mild spice that lessens with cooking. Both pungent leaves and juicy stalks can be used.

Preparation: “It’s like two vegetables in one. You have a really crispy stem, and the deep green leaf,” says Fuller. “They’re similar, but the texture and flavors are different so it’s fun to play with them.”

Fuller uses tatsoi in soups, salads, stir-fries and juice. She likes to use the raw stem end (with leaf attached) for dipping: “Tatsoi is excellent raw because it’s got body, depth and personality.”

A miso soup with Tatsoi

Health benefits: Mustard greens aid in digestion because of their ability to bind bile in the digestive tract, making it easier for bile acids to be excreted, this naturally lowers cholesterol. Cooked greens have a stronger binding ability. Two glucosinolates in mustard greens have well-documented cancer preventive and anti-inflammatory properties.

One Song’s produce can be found at: Grocery: Papaya’s Natural Foods and Hoku Whole Foods. Restaurants: Java Kai in Kapa`a and Coconut Cup. Farmers Market: Kapa`a Wednesdays at 3 p.m.

Call 635-3020.

MISO SOUP

Sun and Lisa fortify themselves with this soup after a long day in the garden. Lisa suggests adding diced tofu, shitake mushrooms, daikon, turnips or noodles if you have them on hand. The salty taste and buttery texture of miso adds wonderful flavor. Hatcho miso is a fermented soybean paste that is high in B12 and zinc.

Tatsoi’s delicate leaves. DanielLane photos

2, 3-inch pieces of Wakame seaweed

4 cups water or vegetable broth

1 small onion (or 4 shallots or 4 spring onions) thinly sliced

1 carrot, grated 2 tablespoons Hatcho miso, dissolved in 2 TBS of water

5 to 10 tatsoi leaves and stems, chopped

Rinse seaweed and soak in cold water to cover for 5 minutes. Sauté onion, carrot and tatsoi stalks until tender, and add water. Drain and slice seaweed into thin strips and add to soup along with the tatsoi leaves. Bring to a boil, and immediately reduce heat to low. Add miso and simmer for two minutes.

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