Chrysanthemum Vegetable 茼蒿
Monday September 7th, 2015 / Leafy

Chrysanthemum Vegetable (茼蒿)

Although a Native of the Mediterranean region, the Chrysanthemum vegetable is now widely grown throughout China. In the west, the Chrysanthemum vegetable is often known under the varying titles of ‘Garland Chrysanthemum’, ‘Chrysanthemum Greens’, ‘Chop suey green’ and ‘Crown Daisy.’

Overall, the Chrysanthemum vegetable is a leafy herb, predominately known for its two main variants. Both of these cultivars are slightly different. The greater large leafed Ton Hao is distinguished by is lobed and wrinkled leaves, which also has short petioles. During the peak of the season, the Ton Hao variant can grow up to around 15 cm in height. In comparison, the narrow leaf, Tong Hao, is the lesser known of the two variants. Tong Hao is characterized for its thinner leaves, and can also grow to great heights ranging between 15-30 cm. When compared to Ton Hao, Tong Hao is less pungent in taste and can be eaten raw. Generally, the taste of Chrysanthemum is mustardy, which compliments its crispy texture.

Chrysanthemum vegetables contain many nutrients, such as various minerals and vitamins. The high levels of potassium that are found within this vegetable makes it the perfect addition to anyone’s diet, providing beneficial effects on health such as preventing against high blood pressure, various diseases and bloating.

Generally, the taste of Chrysanthemum is mustardy, which compliments its crispy texture. It is important to prepare and cook Chrysanthemum vegetables in order to retain its unique flavour and texture. Chrysanthemum can be eaten raw being added to fresh salads. However, more widespread is the addition of Chrysanthemum within traditional Asian hotpots or soups. The Chrysanthemum is added to these particular dishes at the very last moment as to avoid overcooking this delicate vegetable. An example of popular dish in which Chrysanthemum is incorporated within is that of a Chinese winter hot pot fondue, wherein stock is used instead of cheese, and the Chrysanthemum is briefly dipped into before eating.