Can you freeze pak choy?
Pak choy or bok choy is a Chinese cabbage used to make stir-fries and other delicious dishes. If you grow a small bush of pak choy in your backyard, good for you. However, you can’t grow these vegetables during summer because they bolt in hot weather.
If you have fallen in love with adding these leafy greens to your meals, letting them go during summer could be very hard. So, you’re already looking for ways to preserve them. You can store pak choy in the freezer for up to six to twelve months.
This is about enough time before you can grow them again. But, because they are vegetables, you cannot freeze pak choy just anyhow. Ahead, you’ll see how to correctly freeze and use frozen Pak choy during summer and any time of the year.
What Is Pak Choy?
Pak choy, pok choi, or bok choy are naming variations of the same vegetable. Pak choy is a Chinese cabbage that is grown for food. Other names for it are peking cabbage, celery cabbage, and white mustard cabbage. It grows in a cluster of bulbous roots and leafy greens at the top.
Just like vegetables like cabbage and spinach, pak choy is a good ingredient for salad and some soups. Moreover, it tastes almost like spinach, except that it is sweeter and has a mild peppery undertone.
Furthermore, you can choose to either eat bok choy raw or lightly cooked. The greens of bok choy are preferred over the bulbs because of their strong flavor. You can either shred, chop or slice the greens for your meals.
In addition, there are some health benefits of eating bok choy. It can help increase your folate, vitamin C, calcium, beta-carotene, and other minerals.
Can You Freeze Pak Choy?
Yes, you can freeze pak choy. Storing these greens in the freezer is the best way to extend their shelf life and have it in good supply even when the weather isn’t favorable to grow them.
Moreover, it helps to keep the vegetables fresh for a long period. And if you do it correctly, you won’t end up with a mushy mess.
However, freezing does not guarantee that your bok choy will retain all its crispiness. But it will leave you a good amount of crispness and firmness for your salads, noodles, soups, and stir-fries.
Can You Freeze Pak Choy Without Blanching?
Yes. You can skip the blanching step if you don’t want to. Blanching vegetables before you freeze them helps to stop any enzymatic action that can trigger spoilage. Moreover, it helps to retain the nutrients and vibrancy of the greens.
But, blanching sometimes gives you mushy veggies because it adds to their water content. The quick boiling in hot water and cooling in cold water will increase the water content of bok choy, even if you drain it.
Can You Freeze Pak Choy Soup?
If you have made more bok choy soup than you can finish, freeze it. This way, you can preserve the soup for three to six months, depending on its base. If you did not add any dairy products like milk, bok choy soup can stay frozen for up to six months.
How to Freeze Pak Choy
1. How to blanch and freeze
- Gather your bok choy together
- Then, rinse them under running water to remove dirt
- Thereafter, chop, shred or slice the vegetables according to how you’ll be needing them afterward
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Transfer the bok choy into a steamer basket and place the basket in the pot of boiling water
- Blanch the greens for 2-3 minutes
- Afterward, take the basket of greens out of the pot and submerge it into ice water until it cool
- Take out the cooled bok choy and shake off the excess moisture. Use clean paper towels to absorb the remaining moisture so they are completely dry for storage
- Then, place them in a tray lined with a baking sheet and flash freeze for about 30 minutes to an hour. They should be firm to the touch
- Thereafter, the greens are ready to be frozen permanently. Gather the flashed freeze bok choy into a freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can and leave an inch headspace before you seal the bag
2. How to freeze without blanching
- Get your bok choy
- Since you’re not blanching the greens, you should not wash them
- To clean the dirt, moisten a clean paper towel and use it to clean off the dirt
- Shred, dice, or slice the greens and stalk
- Then, transfer them into freezer bags
- Preferably, freeze the vegetables in portions you can use at once
- Squeeze out air from the bags, seal, and freeze
How Long Should You Freeze Pak Choy?
Pak choy can stay frozen for up to twelve months. However, you should use it up within six months to get the best of its nutrients.
How Can You Use Frozen Pak Choy?
To cook with frozen pak choy, you can either thaw it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or use it frozen. If you’re using frozen pak choy, take as much as you’ll need and simply add it to the meal during the cooking stage.
The vegetables will defrost as the meal cooks and will maintain their crunch. On the other hand, thawing the vegetables before cooking with them will not give you crunchy bok choy. However, the vegetables won’t be mushy either.
Pros of Freezing Pak Choy
- Freezing pak choy gives you a long-time supply of greens during summer
- Also, when you freeze these vegetables, it keeps them fresh
- Freezing bok choy can help retain its quality and firmness
- Additionally, if you blanch the greens before freezing, they’ll retain their vibrant color and structure
Cons of Freezing Pak Choy
- If you don’t freeze bok choy correctly, you could end up with a mushy mess
- The longer you freeze bok choy, the more nutrients you lose
What can you do with a lot of pak choy?
If you have more bok choy than you need, you can freeze them, make stir-fries, use the leaves as wraps for sandwich fillings, or toss the leaves and stalks with salad.
How else can you preserve pak choy asides from freezing?
If you don’t want to freeze pak choy, you can dehydrate them, make pickles or pressure-can the vegetables.
Is it okay to vacuum seal pak choy?
No, you should not vacuum seal a bag of pak choy. This vegetable is a cruciferous vegetable, that is, a member of the cabbage family. It is one of those vegetables that turn poisonous when you vacuum seal them.
However, if you must vacuum seal bok choy, you must blanch them first. After blanching, leave the vegetables to cool before you pack them to freeze.
Not every vegetable is available all year round. Some vegetables like bok choy do not fare well in hot weather. But you don’t have to do with them during the hot months. If you gather enough bok choy before summer, you can freeze them for up to a year.
If you freeze them correctly, you’ll not only have a long supply, but you’ll also have a supply of fresh pak choy; keep them in airtight bags or containers before you freeze.
Thanks for reading.
Read more articles on the shelf life and preservation methods of foods and drinks on Cheffist.