Crisp stalks, tender leaves and a delicate flavor make bok choy a versatile vegetable suitable for everything from fresh salads to simple stir-fries. Fresh bok choy keeps for 1 to 2 weeks if you store it in a sealed container or bag in the refrigerator. You have several other options to choose from to preserve this delectable vegetable for several months or up to 1 year.
Freezing Bok Choy
Blanch bok choy by boiling it in a large pot of water for 2 minutes over medium-high heat. Transfer the bok choy to a bowl of ice water and let it soak until it’s cool to the touch before draining it and patting it dry. Let the bok choy air-dry for a short time if necessary before transferring it to a baking sheet and placing it in the freezer until the leaves are firm. Once the bok choy is frozen, transfer it to airtight containers or resealable freezer bags for up to 12 months.
Can bok choy in a pressure canner to preserve it for 1 year or longer if it’s stored in a cool, dry spot. First, blanch the bok choy for 3 to 5 minutes before draining and transferring it to clean canning jars. Fill the jars loosely and pour fresh boiling water into each jar, leaving approximately 1 inch of space at the top of the jar. Place the lids on the jars and add the jars to a pressure canner.
Process pint-size jars for 70 minutes and quart-size jars for 90 minutes in a dial-gauge canner set at a pressure of 11 pounds if you live at altitudes of up to 2,000 feet. Add an extra pound of pressure for every 2,000 feet of additional altitude. If you’re using a weighted-gauge canner, then process the jars using 10 pounds of pressure if you live at an altitude of 0 to 1,000 feet, or a pressure of 15 pounds if you live above 1,000 feet.
Dehydrating or Drying
Dry or dehydrate bok choy until the leaves are brittle, which typically takes 8 to 10 hours in a dehydrator set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry the bok choy on a baking sheet placed in an oven set to the lowest temperature, although this method typically takes longer because the oven lacks the airflow generated in a dehydrator.
Prepare the bok choy by washing it under cold running water and trimming the ends. Blanch it by adding it to a pot of boiling water for approximately 90 seconds before draining it and transferring it to an ice bath. After draining the greens from the ice bath, pat them dry or dry them in a salad spinner before adding the bok choy to the trays of a dehydrator.
Pickling Bok Choy
Pickling is a versatile, flavorful way to preserve bok choy for up to 5 to 6 months in the refrigerator. Sterilize the jar by placing it in a large pot of hot water and boiling it for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria. Turn the heat on the stove off and set the pot aside to keep the jar warm while you prepare the bok choy.
Cut clean bok choy into equal pieces and pack the pieces into the warm jar. Combine the ingredients for your pickling brine in a saucepan. In general, for every 1 pound of bok choy that you’re pickling, use 1 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Simmer the pickling brine for about 3 minutes before pouring it into the jar. Let the jar sit at room temperature with the lid on for 1 hour and then refrigerate it. Customize your pickled bok choy by using different types of vinegars; increasing or decreasing the salt and sugar; or adding spices such as black pepper, coriander, ginger or fennel seed.
References and ResourcesFood Grown Right in Your Backyard; Colin McCrate, Brad Helm
National Center for Home Food Preservation: Selecting, Preparing and Canning Vegetables
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service: Drying Fruits and Vegetables
Hearthmark, LLC: Easy Pickling Starts With Heinz Vinegar and Ball Canning
Food Republic: 5 Things to Know About Pickling
National Center for Home Food Preservation: Home Canning: Jars and Lids
National Center for Home Food Preservation: Frequently Asked Canning Questions