Bok choy is a nutritious Asian vegetable, usually seasonal and also highly perishable especially if left at room temperature. Although it may be available in some stores throughout the year, It will not be as fresh as it would be at its peak during the months of winter.
So, can you freeze bok choy and enjoy it all year round even when it’s out of season? Yes you can, in fact, freezing is the best long-term storage method you can choose for your bok choy as it tends to wilt really fast in the refrigerator. However, you will need to blanch it first in order to retain its flavor and color later when you thaw.
How to freeze bok choy
When choosing bok choy for freezing you need to go for fresh ones in order for them to retain their best quality while freezing. Therefore, choose a compact, firm bok choy that has dark green leaves and crisp off-white stalks. Be keen not to pick those with limp stalks, brown spots on the leaves, and yellowing as they are signs of wilting.
Now that you have your fresh bok choy, here are simple steps on how to freeze it:
- Cut a layer off the base of bok choy in order to separate the stalks.
- Rinse the leaves gently under running water
- Cut off the stalks from the leaves. If you wish to use them separately later when you thaw, this is the best stage to separate them for ease in packaging.
- Put water in a pot and bring it to boil
- Put your bok choy in the boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes
- Transfer them into ice-cold water to cool them and stop the cooking process.
- Put them in a colander to dry. You can use a paper towel to pat them dry just to make sure there are no traces of water left on them.
- Portion the bok choy in zip lock bags depending on the amount you would want to use in the future so that you don’t end up defrosting more than you need.
- Seal the bags removing any air inside to prevent freezer burns
- Label the bags to avoid over freezing
- Put them in the freezer
If stored this way, bok choy can retain its best quality in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.
How to use frozen bok choy
Pop your frozen bok choy into a pot of soup, stew, or into a stir-fry direct from the freezer as it needs no thawing prior to use since it is incorporated in cooked dishes.
But, in a case where you just want to thaw them first, you can simply put them in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
Bok choy has a slightly bitter flavor which tends to increase as it matures. If you don’t like it bitter you can go for baby bok choy which are normally mild and tender and can also be used raw in salads.