I simply cannot walk by a healthy young Green Wave mustard plant in my garden without plucking a leaf. Then I use my thumb to delicately wipe away any lingering drops of dew or, if already dried by the morning sun, to softly brush away what soil may have splashed up from recent rains and stuck around.
I take the time to observe it. The green is vibrant. The frilled edge of each leaf belies the strength in these leaves, their almost embossed feel… supple… succulent. Then I taste it, and it announces itself with a fiery flavor somewhere between wasabi and horseradish. It’s the intensity of flavor I love the most. But that’s not the only spark of joy to be found here.
Mustard begins life as a dark, roundish, unassuming little seed that simply can’t wait to grow. It doesn’t even want to be pampered or watched. It simply wants to be given a chance, then to proudly go its own way… grow its own way, often unchallenged by the many taste-testers who sample all my other veggies.
It’s as nutrient-dense as any of its cruciferous cousins, but typically remains uninvited to the tables of most folks. I suppose it could be this tendency toward dining ostracism that gives mustard its bitter edge, but take the time to anoint it with oil and warm it at the fire, and it can’t help but sing a sweeter song.
Have I mentioned its flowers? Little yellow beauties that float high above the base of leaves, providing both early and late nectar for my neighborhood pollination crew, who, in turn, return the gift of life by enabling this herbaceous fire-breather to make new seeds of her own… which she’s happy to share. It’s part of her utterly adorable nature.
Mind you, Green Wave mustard is not the only garden plant I hold dear… I love my Satsuki Midori cukes; still get excited by each summer’s first Stupice tomato; can’t wait to see if my Ortolana or my Cocozelle zucchini will deliver first; and cherish each and every blueberry bush I have… but those mustard leaves manage to spark joy all year long.