Botanical Name: Cryptotaenia japonica
Some other names: Japanese Parsley, Honeywort, Japanese Chervil
How to grow it:
Mitsuba is a perennial herb to 50cm that is beyond hardy – it will quickly become a weed if left unchecked. I find it sprouting up all over my garden if allowed to seed. Fortunately it’s also very useful & tasty.
The leaves will be more tender in a shaded position, but it handles full sun well even in the hottest months. As far as I can tell, it handles all soil types.
In warmer areas it will provide leaves & stems all year round, in colder climates it may die back in winter, but will readily sprout as soon as the frost has passed.
It has a decent tap root and so will continue to do OK in dry weather, but keep it watered and it will grow prolifically. It will continue growing when the rainy season hits & I tend to lose many of my other parsleys. Will benefit from the regular addition of fertiliser.
Propogation is by seed which should be easy to obtain. If you allow it to self seed (which it does very easily), the following year you’ll have it coming up all over the place. I tend to cut the seed stalks down to encourage leaf production and extend it’s season. Being perennial it will keep growing indefinitely.
Grows just as well in pots – a few plants in a small pot will provide a surprising amount of greens.
High in vitamin C & calcium. Also contains vitamin A, B, potassium, iron & protein.
Using it in the kitchen:
Leaves have a mild parsley flavour and would make a good substitute when your other parslies are struggling.
It has much more value used freely as a salad leaf and in sandwiches instead of lettuce. Has a really refreshing taste
The whole plant can also be added to stir fries, soups, curries & casseroles.The stems are particularly good in stir fries -don’t cook them for too long or their flavour will be lost.
Mitsuba makes a great survival food as it grows so easily in all conditions, and will spread rapidly through self seeding.