Bok choy is a vegetable that’s mostly found in Asian cuisine. These vegetables are known for their crunchiness and mild flavors, which makes them great for making stir-fry, soups, and stews. Like most other leafy vegetables, bok choy is very perishable. If it’s left at a warm temperature, the leaves will start to wilt. In the fridge, bok choy will do the same and become mushy. Therefore, you’ll either need to cook all of them right away or store them in the freezer.
So can you freeze bok choy? Bok choy is a vegetable that can be frozen in the freezer. However, the vegetables will need to be prepped properly first. Prepping them will help lock in the flavor, color, and texture while bok choy is frozen.
In this short guide, we’ll through the proper way to freeze bok choy, how to prep them for the freezer, defrosting them, and how long it will last. If that’s the information you’re searching for, keep reading.
Can You Freeze Bok Choy?
Bok choy is a vegetable that contains a lot of water in its leaf and stem. Therefore, bok choy can be easily frozen.
When it comes to freezing bok choy, they can either be frozen as fresh or cooked vegetables. Fresh bok choy tends to last longer and you’ll be able to do more with it.
With cooked bok choy, especially those that are used in stir-fry will only stay fresh for about 3 months. After that, the flavor will start to deteriorate slowly.
If you’re going to freeze them fresh, you’ll either need to be blanch or flash freeze them first. Without going through this prepping process first, you’ll end up with bok choy that’s uneatable. When the vegetable thaw, the leaves will become mushy and the taste will be bland.
Therefore, it’s important to prep them correctly first before freezing the bok choy. It will take some time to prep them, but you’ll end up with great-tasting vegetables.
Does Bok Choy Freeze Well?
Like any other vegetables, if bok choy is prepared correctly, it will freeze well in the freezer. To prepare them correctly, you’ll need to blanch the vegetable first. Blanching will help preserve the flavor and texture while the bok choy is in the freezer.
Another option is to flash freeze bok choy before storing them in the freezer. Like blanching, the flavor and color of the vegetable will be preserved.
If you’re planning to freeze fresh or cooked bok choy without blanching or flash freezing them first, you’ll end up with vegetables that are bland and mushy. This is due to the bok choy being affected by freezer burn.
Freezer burn is simply the result of air coming into contact with the bok choy or any other food stored in the freezer. The look may not be too appealing, but it’s still safe to eat it.
How to Freeze Bok Choy
Before freezing bok choy, you’ll need to choose the freshest vegetables first. Good to best quality bok choy will last longer in the freezer than bad quality ones.
Avoid bok choy that are bruised or have yellowing on them. These are signs that are going bad and should not be picked.
Once you picked all the quality bok choy, start by preparing for the freezer. Cut the ends of the stems of the vegetable with a sharp knife. The leaves should separate from the base. Take the knife and cut the bok choy to size and set them aside.
Place all the bok choy into a strainer basket and now you’re ready to prep the vegetable for freezing.
Freezing Fresh Bok Choy
Fresh bok choy can be stored in the freezer, but you’ll need to prep them first. This is done through the process of blanching or flash freezing. Both methods work really well to help preserve the quality of the vegetables.
Blanching is the process in which the bok choy are boiled in hot water for several minutes and then transferred to an ice bath immediately to stop the cooking process.
Flash freezing is a process that is simply the bok choy placed on a tray even spaced from each other. It’s then placed in the freezer for a couple of hours until it’s frozen. The bok choy is then put in a freezer bag and moved back into the freezer.
Blanching and Freezing Fresh Bok Choy
- In a pot, heat the water until it boils.
- Place all of the bok choy into a colander or a steamer basket.
- Slowly submerge the basket into the boiling water.
- Blanch the bok choy for a couple of minutes or until the leaves turn a vivid green.
- While the bok choy is cooking, take a basket or container and fill water halfway up. Add ice cubes to the water until the basket is filled.
- After about 3 minutes or so, remove the basket from the pot and drop the bok choy into the ice bath immediately.
- Once the vegetables cool down, take a paper towel and pat them down until it’s completely dry.
- Put the blanched bok choy into a freezer bag and leave about an inch of space at the top.
- Squeeze out as much air as you can and seal the freezer bag.
- Label the bag and move them to the freezer.
Flash Freezing Fresh Bok Choy
- Cut the stem off the bok choy. The leaves should separate from each other once it’s cut.
- Cut the bok choy into your preferred size. The smaller the size is, the faster it will freeze.
- Place the bok choy into a strainer basket and run it under clean water.
- Leave it for a couple of minutes to let water drip from it.
- Take a paper towel and pat all the bok choy until it’s completely dried.
- On a tray, lay a single sheet of baking paper on it.
- Place the bok choy even spaced onto the baking sheet. Make sure none of the bok choy is touching each other.
- Place the tray of bok choy into the freezer for about 3-4 hours.
- After it’s completely frozen, take the tray out of the freezer.
- Transfer them immediately to a freezer bag. Leave about an inch of space at the top so you have room to zip the bag.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing the bag.
- Seal the bag tightly and label it with a date.
- Place them at the far end of the freezer.
Freezing Cooked Bok Choy
If you cooked bok choy and have some leftovers, it’s still possible to freeze them. Simply put the bok choy into an airtight container or a freezer bag.
Make sure that the bok choy has not been sitting at room temperature for longer than 3 hours. If so, it’s best to finish it or discard it. After 3 hours, bok choy will start going bad and have bacteria growing on them. Freezing them will not kill all of the bacteria.
How Long Can You Freeze Bok Choy?
Bok choy can last 5 to 6 months in the freezer. However, it can last much longer if the freezer is kept at a steady 0 degree Fahrenheit. For most freezer at home, this will almost be impossible since everyone in the house will need to open it to get food items from there every day.
Six months is usually how long it will remain fresh, but bok choy will still be safe to eat after that time. The taste and texture of the vegetable will deteriorate so you may notice the bok choy is a little bland.
If you’re going to use it in soups and stir-fry, you shouldn’t worry about using it after 6 months.
How Do You Defrost Bok Choy?
To thaw frozen bok choy, it depends on what you’ll be using them for. These vegetables contain a lot of moisture so after freezing, they tend to become mushy quickly.
If you’re going to use bok choy in soups, stir-fry, or stews, there’s no need to defrost them. Simply take the frozen bok choy and put them into the dish you’re cooking and it will defrost quickly. The heat will thaw the bok choy while retaining its texture and taste.
For other meals or simply eating them fresh, you can put the frozen bok choy into a bowl of warm water. Depending on how hot the room temperature, the vegetables will thaw in an hour or so.
If you need to use bok choy quicker, never put them in hot water. This will actually cook the vegetables and make them lose their flavors and texture. The best way is to put the bok choy under running water for a couple of minutes. This will slowly thaw the vegetables while preserving the taste.
How Long Does Bok Choy Last?
At room temperature, bok choy will only last for a couple of hours. After that, the leaves will start to wilt and the taste will begin to deteriorate. If the room temperature is hotter than normal, expect bok choy to last no longer than an hour. You’ll need to cook them right away or store them in the refrigerator.
In the fridge, bok choy will last 3 to 4 days. The vegetables should be stored in a plastic bag or in the crisper section of the fridge. Also, make sure to not wash them prior to storing them in the fridge. If you do, the moisture that’s left on the bok choy will cause the leaves to become damaged.
What part of bok choy do you eat?
This whole vegetable is edible and safe to eat. Depending on what you’ll be using bok choy for, different parts of the vegetable can be used. For the salad, you may want to use just the leaves of the bok choy. On the other hand, for soups and stir-fry recipes, you can use the entire plant.
Why is bok choy bitter?
As it age, bok choy will become more bitter. Some like it bitter, while others don’t. If you want to get rid of the bitterness, place the bok choy into a bowl and mix it with some oil.