We don't talk enough about this crunchy stemmed and leafy top vegetable. The baby varieties open up almost like a tulip, and the larger varieties can reach sizes that can feed an entire family. This brassica green deserves a little spotlight so here are 9 facts to share that you may not know about bok choy:
- It's a very very old vegetable. Bok choy has been growing since 400 AD in one of the most famous agricultural regions in the world: Yangtze Delta, China.
- It is a vegetable of many many names. Bok choy's botanical name is, Brassica rapa chinensis but also goes by: Chinese cabbage, white vegetable, pak choi, and Chinese mustard cabbage.
- It doubles as a vegetable AND a spoon. Bok choy is sometimes called a soup spoon because of the shape of its leaves.
- There are towers made of bok choy in Singapore. Vertical farming has become very popular with commercial growers in Singapore. One of their greatest successes is the bok choy towers that are stacked at 30-feet-high.
- Bok choy is cabbage's sibling. Along with collard greens, kale, wild mustard, broccoli, and kohlrabi, bok choy is a part of the brassica family.
- It is frost-resistant. Just like kale, bok choy is a cool-weather crop. This means there are still opportunities for a bounty of bok choy in the winter, however it cannot take the heat as well. Sometimes, when summers get too hot, bok choy turns stringy and bitter in areas.
- Sometimes bok choy has freckles! They are called pepper spots. This is a harmless cosmetic condition that doesn’t impact taste or texture.
- Brown and yellow patches are a sign of age. When looking for a healthy bok choy, leaves are perky and vibrantly green. Stalks are firm and free of mushy spots.
- Bok choy can grow to 11 inches tall. These are the full-grown varieties. Other varieties include mini bok choy and Shanghai bok choy (we mostly know these as baby bok choy).
All varieties are delicious and can be used in similar ways. Check out one of our favourite ways to cook with bok choy in our Coconut Red Curry here!