Scarlet or red frill is a mustard microgreen that’s are available from fall up until spring and that is member of the Brassica family along with arugula, radishes and turnips. They can be harvested young and as a micro green they are mostly used in salads and as a side dish.
They are a plant that’s come a long way to reach us in the United States but that has become a staple of healthy and well balanced diet.
Scarlet Frill Trivia
- They can be harvested at any stage of growth
- They originate on Himalayas
- The flavor is surprising spicy and they shouldn’t be overused
Scarlet Frill Buying Guide
Since it’s a microgreen that can be grown easily and fast, many decide to buy it in seeds and grow their own in their kitchen, so that they can harvest scarlet frills themselves whenever they need them. This is done with a simple sharp knife.
If you’re buying them in a bag or a bundle you should look for the colors, with the top being bright and red and the rest of the plant being green and fresh if they have been harvested recently.
Scarlet Frill Production & Farming in Texas
These microgreens are produced in Texas and mostly sold to better farmer’s markets and to better restaurants and chefs. That’s where the market is and the production is easy to set up since they can be grown in small trays and fully harvested rather quickly.
They should be grown in greenhouses or other protected areas. There are a few varieties available and it’s important to follow the guidelines in terms of germination depending on the variety you’ve bought. Broadcast seed thickly on the media surface with seeds 1/8- 1/4″ apart, press seeds firmly into media for maximum soil contact, and cover lightly with sowing mix, vermiculite, or humidity dome.
Ideal soil temperature is 75°F (24°C) until germination, then reduced to 60°F (16°C). Optimal ambient temperatures are variety-specific, but 65–75°F/18–24C° is generally a favorable range. Temperatures above 75°F can increase disease pressure and inhibit germination.
The harvesting should start when they are 1- 1 and half inches tall. They can be cut with a knife or with a scissors. This means that they are rather easy to grow and produced and maturing takes between 10 and 15 days.
There are no pesticides used on these microgreens and the diseases that attack them aren’t about pests but about airflow and insufficient water.
The plant originates in the Himalayan region of India and from there it spread throughout Asia where it become a staple of local cuisine. This was most noticeable in Japan where it was widely grown and used. From there it was transplanted across the world wherever there’s an Asia minority community.
Since it’s now mostly grown in artificial conditions, Scarlet Frills could be grown regardless of the weather and regardless of the soil quality. In natural setting they are cool season crops, preferring shorter days, full sun and cooler soil for fast growth.
The frills are packed in plastic bags and sold by the bag or by the pound. In some cases, they are also kept in bundles and sprayed with water to keep them fresh for a long period of time. They can also be sold as seed and kept in trays in your kitchen where you can harvest them yourself in ten days and be sure they are fresh.
Enjoying Scarlet Frills
There are a few ways to eat scarlet frills and they are all rather simple to prepare. They are mostly used in salads, soups and stir fried dishes. Frills add a rather strong spicy taste to the dish which is not surprising when it comes to Asian dishes and that’s also something to look out for when you’re a novice cook.
When it comes to salads it’s best to used scarlet frills in combination with more mild and refreshing vegetables and the same goes for using them to stir fry dishes where balance is also of the essence.
They are also very well mixed with cheese, especially feta and alike since they will mitigate the spicy flavor and bring it to your attention at the same time.
Scarlet Frills are best used as soon as they are harvested which means that it’s best not to store them at all, but to use them right away. If they are stored, they should be wrapped in a towel and placed in a simple plastic bag. That bag can be kept in the cold part of the fridge for a couple of days at least.
This is a simple recipe for the red frill salsa verde that requires a couple of other ingredients as well.
1 bunch Red Frill mustard greens 1 bunch cilantro 3/4 cup chopped scallions (about one small bunch), or red onion 3 tablespoon capers, rinsed Juice and zest of one organic lemon 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt (or to taste) 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes – optional
Yield: 2 cups Chop up the mustard greens and cilantro leaves. Mix with remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and serve.
The following nutrition information is provided for 3 cups (85g) of spring mix: Calories: 20 Fat: 0g Sodium: 95mg Carbohydrates: 3g Fiber: 2g Sugars: 0g Protein: 2g.
Most of the calories in spring mix blends come from carbohydrate, but this is still a low carb food, providing just 4.4 grams per serving. Most of the carbohydrate in a spring mix is fiber. The estimated glycemic load of a single serving of spring mix salad greens is about one.
Fats in Spring Mix: There is little to no fat in these salad greens—most should contain under 1 gram. Protein in Spring Mix: A typical spring mix provides almost 2 grams of protein per serving. Micronutrients in Spring Mix: Each bag or box of mixed greens provides a healthy dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate and potassium. These mixed greens may also contribute some calcium and iron. Blends with more spinach may provide slightly more protein.