Bok Choi: Yes, indeed!

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Bok Choi

By Newyorkrita
January 6, 2014

Bok Choi is a common ingredient in Asian Cooking. It can be stir fried or added to soups. But did you know that it is easy to grow your own from seed?

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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jan 5, 2014 8:57 PM CST
Bok choi is yummy, and very easy to grow!
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Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
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farmerdill
Jan 6, 2014 11:57 AM CST
Also adds spice to salads. Does well as a fall crop as it much less prone to bolting in the fall. Stands temps in the low 20's so it is good in the winter in the south. Mine just took 15 degrees and survived.
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jan 6, 2014 12:14 PM CST
Looks great!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jan 6, 2014 1:06 PM CST
Amen!

I like the white stems raw and crunchy. Sweeter than carrots and juicy enough to quench my thirst. I think the stems are best like appetizers, cut into 2-3 inch lengths and as thick as a little finger. Then chill in water so they are as crisp and plump as possible. I think they lose a lot of sweetness and crispness within a few hours of picking.

If I let the stems get so old that the outer stems have strings, I eat them outside and enjoy spitting wads of strings like watermelon seeds, trying for distance.

Leaves that old go better in soup than in salad, or I suppose I could steam them as hearty greens. I've read that, in China, big old leaves are sun-dried and stored for winter soups.

If I still had a gas stove I would stir-fry the leaves, but an electric range isn't as good.

i think of them as a spinach substitute in salad, rather than a lettuce substitute.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jan 6, 2014 2:51 PM CST
I'm not a fan of cooked greens, so I prefer the young tender leaves. And I agree, Rick. Much more like spinach or cabbage than a substitute for lettuce. Although it also goes nicely with lettuce.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 6, 2014 4:15 PM CST
I do like "a mess o' greens" greens in ramen soup. But I agree with you: for salad, bok choy is much better young or very young.

The trendy, expensive thing is apparently "microgreens", which take the idea of baby leaves to an extreme. Depending on who you read, microgreens are just the seedling leaves (cotyledons), or one pair of real leaves, or at most two pair. That's just one step past seed sprouts!

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-micro_greens_production.aspx?so...

I used to over-cook bok choy stems in soup. They would get mushy and be undesirable. Now my policy is to get them barely heated all the way through, so they stay crisp. That's why I cut them into thin strips or pencils, so that a brief simmering is enough to get them hot.

Best of all is to eat the stems raw.

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hazelnut
Jan 7, 2014 10:25 AM CST
A bok choi recipe from Vegetarian Times:

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/spaghetti-with-bok-cho...
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 7, 2014 5:12 PM CST

I liked the photo which showed big stems and leaves of Bok Choy almost like a garnish.
And this sounded good:
"For the best texture, choose larger bunches of bok choy, which will remain crisp-tender after cooking."

But reading lower, I saw:
" thinly sliced bok choy "
" sauté 8 minutes, or until vegetables turn golden "
" simmer 3 minutes "

Three minutes of simmering will turn whole leaves soft and mushy.
Eight minutes of sauteing in hot oil will make "thin slices" of stem turn to weak Jell-O!

Oh, well, I know very little about cooking.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Jun 26, 2014 11:08 PM CST
I wonder if I still have time to start some up here. Our temps are on the cool side though lots of sun if you don't count the cloudy days.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jun 27, 2014 11:19 AM CST
"Cool" is best for Bok Choy.

Since baby leaves and young leaves are delicious, you could start them for salad as late as 3 weeks before frost (and most varieties do tolerate a little light frost).

Some varieties are fully mature by 35 days, and some big ones take 50 days to reach full size (5-7 weeks).
Most varieties quote 40-45 days to maturity (6 weeks), but that's not assuming 19 hours of sunlight!

I think you could still get a fully mature crop even if your first fall frost was as early as August 1 or 8.

They say that Chinese cabbage (like Napa and Michihli) likes shortening day length. Maybe it would like Alaska?
[Last edited by RickCorey - Jun 27, 2014 11:20 AM (+)]
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