Bok choy adds a delicious crunch and a healthy dose of nutrients to stews, stir-fry, and soups! But if you have leftover boy choy, how do you store it without turning this vegetable to mush? Can you freeze Bok choy?
The problem with storing Bok choy is that the vegetable tends to wilt as soon as it is kept in the fridge. However, blanching Bok choy, or most green, leafy vegetables for that matter, helps retain the original texture of the product. There will be minor texture changes but only because the water content of the vegetable has crystallized and thawed after freezing. Flash freezing the vegetable is another great way of preserving Bok choy!
Start by choosing the freshest, greenest bok choy you can find in the market. Avoid bruised or yellowing bunches of bok choy. Wash the vegetable under running water to remove any dirt or debris. If the Bok choy has not been trimmed yet, cut the ends of the stems using a sharp knife. For large bunches of bok choy, cut the tough white base near the leaf base. Cut the Bok choy to size and set aside. Now you’re ready to prep the vegetable for freezing.
Image used under Creative Commons from The Marmot
Blanching and Freezing Fresh Bok Choy
This process involves boiling the bok choy for several minutes then submerging the vegetable in an ice bath. The ice bath will lock in the flavor and color of the vegetable while also stopping the cooking process.
Boil a pot of water over medium-high heat. Place the bok choy in a steamer basket or a colander then submerge the basket in the pot. Blanch the bok choy for 3 minutes or until the leaves turn a vivid green. After 3 minutes, remove the basket from the pot and submerge it into ice water until completely cool.
Shake the excess moisture out of the leave then pat the bok choy dry with paper towel. Place the vegetable in a resealable plastic bag, leaving about an inch of space before sealing. Remove the excess air then seal the plastic bag. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
Flash Freezing Fresh Bok Choy
This process involves pre-freezing the prepared bok choy before freezing the vegetable for long-term to extend its shelf life.
Prepare the vegetable as you normally would (refer to our prep instruction above), making sure to pat the bok choy completely dry before flash freezing. Get a baking sheet and line it with wax paper. Place the bok choy leaves on the baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure none of the leaves are touching each other. Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours.
After a couple of hours, take the baking sheet out of the freezer. Place the bok choy leaves in a resealable plastic bag, leaving about an inch of space. Press the plastic bag to remove excess air then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
Image used under Creative Commons from Philippe Put
Freezing Cooked Bok Choy
If you have leftover bok choy (steamed, stuffed, stir-fried, etc.), you can still freeze it for later. Just place the bok choy in a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. If the cooked bok choy comes with sauces or other trimmings, you might have to freeze those separately. Close the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
When stored in the freezer, bok choy will keep for 4 to 6 months, maybe longer if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degree Fahrenheit. There is no need to thaw the bok choy when used in cooking. Just add the bok choy directly into the dish you’re cooking and it will defrost quickly. But if you’d like to thaw the vegetable still, you can. Just do it quickly. Submerge the frozen bok choy in a bowl of tap water for a couple of hours and it’ll be ready for your recipe.
Can you freeze bok choy? Bok choy is not available all year round so it’s great that you can freeze this vegetable for later! Do note, however, that bok choy is quite delicate so proper prep is a must to retain its naturally crunchy texture.