NIRA, also known as Garlic chives, are a popular vegetable in East Asia and have been consumed in Japan for a long time. The season for NIRA is from spring to early summer. These chives are rich in vitamins and minerals which help prevent swelling, improve bowel movements, and aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates and iron. They also have a distinct aroma similar to garlic due to the presence of "allicin", a compound found in NIRA. Allicin is known to relieve fatigue and suppress the rise in blood sugar levels. It is better absorbed when combined with vitamin B1, found in pork and grains. This is why many recommend pairing NIRA with pork dishes.
There are many delicious ways to enjoy NIRA, such as in stir-fries, GYOZA dumplings, soups, egg dishes, and rice porridge. To fully savor the sweetness and umami of NIRA, it's best to heat it with minimal cutting and not to overcook it as it can lose its color and flavor.
To grow NIRA, it's best to choose a sunny and well-drained location for seeding or transplanting. After sowing the seeds, they should be watered frequently. After germination, thin out the plants to widen the space between them. NIRA is strong and has a robust vitality, with new leaves growing even if the plant is cut. As a result, it can be harvested several times a year.
At Suzuki Farm, we only grow and harvest the green leaves of NIRA. Please enjoy this highly nutritious and heat-tolerant plant, one of the few vegetables we can harvest in the middle of summer!