While health benefits of mustard greens have long been known, the strong bitter taste and pungent smell has kept this leafy green from going as mainstream as lettuce or kale.
But that could change soon. That’s because CRISPR-focused produce startup Pairwise got approval in mid-August from the USDA for their gene-edited version of Brassica juncea, more commonly known as mustard greens.
According to a release sent to The Spoon, the USDA sent confirmation to Pairwise in mid-August that the company was approved to move forward with their new take on a leafy green that has not been on many menu due to a pungent smell and bitter taste. With changes engineered by CRISPR technologies, Pairwise hopes to create a nutritious alternative to kale and Brussels sprouts that also tastes good.
According to Pairwise, their new mustard greens will feature a strong nutrition profile with supple leaves that hold up well to salad dressings and toppings and will have green and deep purple colors.
When I interviewed Pairwise CEO Tom Adams a month ago, he told me one of the reasons the company focused on mustard greens was the high yield of the crop.
Mustard greens “look just like lettuce, they they feel like lettuce, so if we could eliminate that flavor and make them taste like lettuce that they that they would be like lettuce,” said Adams. “It turns out they actually have another attribute, which is they yield on an acre basis. They yield about three times as much as kale.”
According to Pairwise, they currently have five varieties of the gene-edited produce in field trials. They have plans to expand the field trials in a few months to include the edited product and will provide sample products to partners this fall.