Bok Choy is considered the Chinese cabbage. In Cantonese, it means “white vegetable”. Its other names include Pak Choy, Pok Choi, Pak Choi, Bok Choi, pichay or petsay. In appearance, it’s very similar to mustard green and has a smaller bulb when compared to ordinary cabbage. There are also other variants of Bok Choy, including the Shanghai Bok Choy (which is the more international version) and the baby Bok Choy, which is smaller than the Shanghai Bok Choy and has a crisper texture. As is the case with most types of leafy greens, Bok Choy has a high concentration of water, particularly in the whitest portion. This might concern you if you plan on storing a certain quantity for the long term. So, can you freeze Bok Choy? How long does Boy Choy last in the fridge?
You can freeze Bok Choy, but it requires prior meticulous preparation. Freezing Bok Choy will definitely compromise its original freshness, but at least it will be preserved for other uses. You must pay attention to the tips outlined below to avoid damages such as freezer burn.
There are various approaches to this. Some people prefer to blanch it first. Blanching is a method by which vegetables are heated in boiling water briefly and then submerged in iced water or placed under cold running water. This method deactivates the enzymes responsible for the vegetable’s degradation. However, many complain that blanched Pak Choi turns mushy after freezing. It makes sense since it absorbs water in the process.
To avoid Bok Choy turning mushy, you can also skip blanching and clean the Bok Choy with a wet paper towel to remove impurities.
Some people soak it due to the potential contaminants and pesticide residues it might contain. If you decide to wash it that way before freezing, be aware that the texture will be further compromised by ice crystals, but you’d probably prefer to be on the safe side and live with a mushy Bok Choy.
With that out of the way, remove the excess water with the help of a paper towel and/or a strainer. Next, cut the leaves and stems on a cutting board. Place the cut portions into an airtight freezer bag or single serving-size Ziploc bags, making sure no air gets in or is left inside. Finally, stow in the freezer.
It’s important to make sure that the Bok Choi has not been resting at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Freezing will only deactivate bacterial growth but it won’t kill the bacteria caught before it’s stored.
Owing to the high amount of water it contains, ice crystals will definitely form and destroy the cellular structure of the Pak Choy, causing the vegetable to lose its crispness and freshness. However, frozen Pak Choy may be used in various hot soup recipes as it’s still safe for consumption, assuming it was stored before its expiration.
It’s not really recommended to refreeze Bok Choy, especially after thawing. Bacteria grows quite rapidly in these types of vegetables and they can cause foodborne illness very easily, even without apparent spoilage signs. It will also get mushier after repeated freezing.
Provided it’s properly packed, Bok Choy or Pak Choy will last 3 or 4 days in the fridge at a temperature of 40º F or below.
In the freezer at 0º or lower, it will remain in an edible state for approximately 6 months. While in the freezer, the Bok Choy will not spoil as the bacterial activity is inhibited by the cold temperature.
In the case of Bok Choy, there are two methods. You can put the Bok Choy in the fridge and let it thaw overnight. You can also submerge the bag in a bowl of cold or room-temperature tap water and wait approximately 2 hours. Don’t use warm water in an attempt to defrost it faster, as the vegetable will cook and turn into mush, ruining its flavor.
The good news is that you don’t have to go through a tedious thawing process to use the frozen Bok Choy. You can add them directly from the freezer to your soup, stew, or stir-fry. However, cooking times will be extended depending on the amount of frozen Bok Choy used.