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Bok Choy is a round-leafed vegetable that is a staple in Asian cooking. The American cooks are less familiar with this plant vegetable, and many confuse it with Napa cabbage. Although Bok Choy is also a type of Chinese cabbage, it is commonly known as white cabbage and is different from the Napa cabbage.
The vegetable is being cultivated for more than 5000 years. It is now being harvested in Canada and California in the US. It is easy to grow a Bok Choy in a garden as it takes only two months after planting to harvest.
Growing Tips for Bok Choy that Really Work!
Bok Choy is packed with Vitamins A & C and, contrary to popular belief, it can be easily grown in the home gardens. The vegetable is usually planted in early spring for a late summer or a fall harvest. It requires rich and well-drained soil.
History of Bok Choy
The bok choy plant is a member of the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage and mustard greens. It can be traced back to China where it was used in cooking as well as medicine. The first cultivation of this vegetable occurred during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 AD). Bok choy was introduced into North America by Chinese immigrants from California who had grown up eating it regularly in their homeland.
In 1894 seeds were brought over from Canton to Hawaii for experimental farming; they proved very successful there because of hot, dry summers that are perfect for growing vegetables such as bok choy since little water is required once established. In 1914 seeds were imported again but this time to San Francisco, California.
Although it has been used in ethnic dishes for many years, bok choy has recently become popular among US consumers.
Benefits of Bok Choy
The leaves of this vegetable are rich in calcium and copper. It helps to increase the bone mineral density and prevents them from breaking. It is said that the daily consumption of this vegetable helps to avoid diseases of bone and the risk of bone fractures. Bok choy also has excellent medicinal properties. Historically, it has been used to treat cough and cold and also helps to treat an upset stomach. The leaves of the bok choy plant also help to soothe skin irritations.
A bonus? It's low in calories and high in fiber, which makes it helpful for digestive health.
Basic Bok Choy Facts
Bok Choy can be directly sown in the garden or initiate it in an indoor setting before transplanting it later. Once planted, the germination usually occurs in 10 days.
Bok choy is a cabbage-like vegetable that thrives in cool weather. Because of this, the best time to plant bok choy is in the fall or spring season.
The optimum temperature for growing bok choy is between 13 C to 24 C. However, the plant can also grow well when the temperature drops to 10 C or increases to 32 C.
Each bok choy plant yields a minimum of 10 erect stalks that reach around 10 inches in height and has dark green leaves.
The bok choy deep green leaves make for excellent salads or cooked dishes where it will add crunch and flavor. It is best enjoyed in salad and tastes delicious in soups. Bok choy also tastes great when it is stir-fried.
Gardening Tips for Bok Choy
Gardening Tips for Bok Choy: Soil
Well-drained soil is needed, which would have a lot of organic matter mixed in it. The soil's pH level in which Bok Choy is planted should range from 6.0 to 7.5, although it tolerates certain variations.
For planting this vegetable, gardeners should use an even spacing between plants (about two feet apart). They do not need much more than rich soil with good drainage; they are highly tolerant of light shade as well as full sun conditions. Precautions against pests include handpicking or using organic controls such as pyrethrum dusts, rotenone, or PyGanic.
When growing bok choy as either spring or fall crop, make sure to plant them four weeks before the last frost date. Planting too early can lead to bolting (the formation of flower heads) resulting in tough leaves that are bitter tasting; planting too late may result in plants not surviving cold weather.
Gardening Tips for Bok Choy: Plant Care
Bok choi is a cool-weather crop that thrives in early spring and late fall, though it can be grown year-round in many parts of the US. It needs very little water once established but can benefit from some irrigation during dry periods.
Bok choy plants need to be watered consistently during the autumn season. If the soil has an adequate amount of organic matter, you need not feed the bok choy plants. The plant is generally not affected by the brassica diseases but is susceptible to cabbage worms.
Harvesting Bok Choy
Bok choy should be harvested as soon as it is big enough to use. To harvest them, gardeners can cut the stems with a sharp knife and then remove from their roots if desired. It is best to harvest only one per plant at a time so that others have room to grow more fully
Enjoying Bok Choy
Bok choy has been described by some cooks as having an earthy flavor with notes of cabbage or mustard greens while others say it tastes more like celery than anything else because it's lighter and sweeter. It should not be eaten raw due to the risk of bacterial contamination so always cook before eating, whether boiled or stir-fried.
The bok choy stalks are best eaten in salads, or you can enjoy them raw in a dip. There are many recipes for bok choy, but you should cook it quickly to ensure that the leaves are tender, and stalks are crisp. The most popular use of bok choy is in salads and sandwiches and is an excellent addition to mixed green salads.
The quickest and easiest way to cook bok choy is to stir-fry it. You can also add aromatics like ginger and green onions towards the end of the cooking to retain flavor. A less common way to enjoy bok choy is to roast them tenderly. Usually, bok choy is roasted with chicken in the last 20 min of cooking to add a distinct flavor to the meal.
Easy Bok Choy Recipe
The stir-fried chicken teriyaki recipe with bok choy is a delicious chicken recipe that everyone can enjoy. The teriyaki sauce has a lip-smacking flavor that forms a delightful combination of chicken and bok choy. Try the Easy Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry recipe for a lovely dinner on any weekend.