How To Find, Choose, & Use

Garland Chrysanthemum

(Tong Ho)

Glebionis coronaria

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The Basics

  • What Is It?

    A leafy green member of the daisy family (Asteraceae). Native to the Mediterranean but somewhat infrequently used there, its distinctive flavour is used to great effect primarily in Asian cooking.

  • Seasonality

    YEAR-ROUND (best in Winter and Spring)

  • Flavour Profile

    Green/floral/bitter; distinctive and strong for a green vegetable

  • Other Names

    Chrysanthemum greens, edible chrysanthemum, chop suey greens, crown daisy, Japanese greens; tong-ho (choy) (Cantonese transliterations commonly used in English); tónghāo (Mandarin); shungiku (Japanese); ssukgat (Korean); chartzith (Hebrew); mantilida (Greek).


How-To

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  • Find

    Asian grocery stores, especially Korean, Japanese, and Chinese stores.

  • Choose

    Look for bright, fresh looking leaves without obvious tears or signs of wilting. Avoid leaves with yellow edges as they’re likely to be bitter. Choose smaller leaves/stems if possible, as they’ll be more tender.

  • Prep

    Difficulty: Low – Simply wash the leaves and stems gently in cold water. Particularly large, tough stems can be discarded. Leaves can be left whole or chopped, depending on the requirements of a particular dish.

  • Use

    Eaten cooked or raw; cooked is more common.

  • Store

    Short Term: Unwashed in a breathable/open plastic bag in the crisper drawer – 3-5 days
    Long Term: Chop, blanch for 2 minutes, drain and cool, then freeze

Culinary Info

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  • Flavour Profile

    Green/Floral/Bitter – A bit tricky to describe, the flavour is a mix of leafy green and the distinctive floral taste of chrysanthemum (picture chrysanthemum tea, if you’ve had it). The flavour is fairly bold and powerful, especially for a leafy green.

  • Substitutions

    None. The flavour of garland chrysanthemum is very distinctive. Spinach is texturally similar, but completely dissimilar in terms of flavour.

  • Cuisines

    Frequently found in East Asian (and especially Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) soups, stews, hotpots, etc. Young, tender leaves can be used in salads and other raw dishes.

  • Flavour Pairings

    Pairs very nicely with tofu, root vegetables, miso, and mushrooms. As a strong flavour, it needs to be paired carefully, but as a general rule it works well with earthy flavours, stocks. Seafood is a less common pairing, but a very nice one to work with.

  • Varieties

    There are two important varieties to note:
    Small Leaf – the most common variety, shown in the photos here.
    Large or Round Leaf – an old Chinese variety with largely, brighter, somewhat oak-leaf shaped foliage.
    For more on these varieties and their use, click “Need More Detail” below.

More Info

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  • Nutrition

    Extremely high in Vitamin K For a full nutritional profile, click Need More Detail? below

  • Top-To-Tail

    The entire above-ground plant is eaten, including leaves, stalks, and flowers.

  • GMO Status

    Non-GMO

  • Health & Science

    Unlike many other leafy greens, garland chrysanthemum hasn’t received much research attention. It seems to be a relatively unremarkable, albeit healthy food.

  • Organic vs. Conventional

    Conventionally grown garland chrysanthemum is more commonly available than organic. Organic seed varieties are increasingly common, and the plant’s ease of cultivation makes home-growing a viable possibility.

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