You have probably been told to eat lots of green leafy vegetables. Luckily, you don’t have to eat salad every day to get your leafy greens. Bok choy and baby bok choy are delicious options for eating more green leafy vegetables. You can find fresh bok choy and baby bok choy in most grocery stores, or you can even grow your own. But if you end up with a bountiful harvest, can you freeze bok choy and baby bok choy? Yes, you can!
This post was written by Lindsay Delk, RDN. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to replace medical advice or instructions given by your healthcare provider.
What Is Bok Choy and Baby Bok Choy?
Bok choy, also known as Chinese cabbage or pak choi, is a type of cruciferous vegetable. It has smooth green leaves with white crunchy stalks.
Bok choy is a larger variety of Chinese cabbage with thick white stems that branch out into large dark green leaves. Its flavor varies from sweet to slightly bitter.
Baby bok choy is smaller than regular bok choy and has thin white stems with light green leaves. It has a milder flavor compared to the regular kind and is more tender when cooked.
You can eat both varieties of Chinese cabbage raw or cooked, and you will see them in a lot of Asian cuisine.
Bok choy and baby bok choy make excellent additions to many dishes, including soups, stir-fries, and salads.
Mental Health Benefits of Bok Choy and Baby Bok Choy
Bok choy and baby bok choy are incredibly nutrient-dense vegetables that offer a variety of mental health benefits. Including bok choy and baby bok choy in your diet is one way to help you eat more vegetables and leafy greens.
Research shows that people who eat more cruciferous vegetables, like bok choy and baby bok choy, are less likely to experience depression.
And leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables have the highest Antidepressant Food Score (AFS) among plant foods. This is because of their high amounts of micronutrients, such as folate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
The phytonutrients and antioxidants in these vegetables help your body fight damaging free radicals and decrease inflammation in your body. This may help improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and even provide some protection against cognitive decline.
Can You Freeze Bok Choy and Baby Bok Choy?
Yes, you can freeze bok choy and baby bok choy. You can freeze the entire head of bok choy, the whole leaves, or chopped bok choy. Follow these steps for both bok choy and baby bok choy:
- Wash the bok choy, removing any dirt and debris. Remove any yellow or wilted leaves.
- Dry the bok choy completely so that the pieces don’t wilt as much.
- Slice the bok choy into strips or chunks as desired.
- Place the bok choy pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to ensure even freezing.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until frozen solid.
- Label freezer storage bags with the contents and the date of freezing.
- Transfer the frozen bok choy pieces to the freezer storage bag and remove as much air as possible.
- Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- When ready to use, remove the desired amount of frozen bok choy from the bag to use in your recipe. There is no need to thaw the bok choy first.
It is not necessary to blanch the bok choy or baby bok choy before freezing. Freezing the bok choy in its raw state will help to preserve its texture, color, and flavor.
Blanching can also cause some nutrients to leach out into the cooking water. So leaving it unblanched helps ensure that all of its health benefits remain intact.
Tips for Freezing Bok Choy and Baby Bok Choy
- Freeze your bok choy as soon as possible. This will retain the most freshness and nutrients.
- Label the freezer bag with permanent marker before you fill the bag. It’s much easier to write on the flat bag than a filled bag.
- Use this method to get the most air out of your freezer bag: close the freezer bag, leaving just enough space for a straw to fit inside the top. Use the straw to suck out as much air as possible before closing it completely.
- Vacuum seal your frozen bok choy if possible.
- Try to keep a constant temperature in your freezer by opening the door as little as possible. This will help maintain the freshness of your frozen foods.
- Frozen bok choy and baby bok choy can last up to 6 months or longer.
- For best results, use your frozen bok choy in soups and stir fries. Just add the frozen veggies directly to the pot or pan. You don’t have to thaw the bok choy first. Try bok choy in this recipe for Roasted Tomato and White Bean Stew.
- Read how bok choy and baby bok choy are healthy greens for smoothies.
Bok choy and baby bok choy are nutrient-dense green leafy vegetables that can provide numerous mental health benefits. You can easily freeze them for long-term storage. This makes them a great option for busy people who want to eat healthy meals without the hassle of preparing fresh produce each day. Let me know in the comments in you have enjoyed bok choy or baby bok choy.