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Also known as pak choi or spoon cabbage, bok choy is one of the most popular Chinese leafy greens. In most common types—white-stemmed, green-stemmed, and “soup spoon”— both leaves and stems are edible. One of the most delicately flavored Asian greens, bok choy is good for stir-frying (in oil, with garlic and soy sauce), braising, or simmering in soups. Choose unblemished leaves and firm stalks for best results, and blanch before stir-frying.
Our World PEAS farmers grow a wide variety of bok choy, and also produce related varietals like komatsuna, tatsoi, and Tokyo Bekana (also known as spey). Komatsuna is very similar to bok choy in taste and appearance. Tatsoi leaves are very delicate, and are delicious raw in salads, or stir fried over very high heat for just a minute or so. Tokyo Bekana can easily be mistaken for lettuce, due to its light green color, but is a fantastic green to stir fry or use in place of bok choy.
Several varieties of chinese cabbage have been cultivated for over six thousand years in China. They were a common part of the diet in southern China by the 5th century. The Ming Dynasty pharmacologist Li Shizhen studied the Chinese cabbage for its medicinal qualities. They were introduced to Korea, where it became the staple vegetable for making kimchi. In the early 20th century, it was taken to Japan by returning soldiers who had fought in China during the Russo-Japanese War.
Bok choy is low in calories, but still packs a nutritional punch. It contains high amounts of vitamin C, which improves immune response and decreases inflammation. Bok choy is also a good source of vitamin K, a nutrient important to bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis. Additionally, many studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables, which include bok choy, may decrease the risk of certain cancers, especially lung, colon, and prostate cancer.
Storing & Cooking Information
Handling: Examine the ends of the bok choy/komatsuna/spey/tatsoi; cut off any brown spots. Break the bok choy into pieces. Clean each stem thoroughly to remove any dirt. When very small, baby bok choy can be cooked whole. If large, halve lengthwise.
Storing: Asian greens can last up to 1 week if wrapped in damp towel or put in plastic bag in hydrator drawer of fridge.
Freezing: These tender plants do not freeze well.