In this article, you will learn how to freeze pak choi (BritEng) or bok choy (AmEng). This comes in handy, especially when you have larger harvests at the same moment and you cannot eat it all at once.
I had to freeze my complete harvest, because I was leaving on a short trip and I would miss the right moment to eat them fresh. On top of that, all my pak choi was being overgrown by not so climbing, but rather crawling, courgettes and I had to save them. They were deprived from sunlight and holes were forming in the leaves. I always prefer to use fresh vegetables, especially if they are from my garden, but sometimes you want to save some for a different season or there is too much harvest and you can’t eat it all at once. Then freezing comes in handy.
How to freeze pak choi?
As with many green vegetables, it is a good idea to blanche them before freezing. This way you stop the enzymes inside to change the texture and colour while being frozen. The word, originally French, sounds much more difficult than the process is in reality. It is just a fancy way of saying: “boil the stuff and cool it down quickly”.
Here’s how you do it:
- Take the pak choi out of your garden (or wherever you get them: shop, farmer’s market, community garden,…). You can pluck them out of the ground or cut just above the root.
- Cut off the bottom of the pak choi and cut the complete plant in little pieces of about 3 cm. I like to use the leaves too and put it all together. This is really tasty with a white sauce! I’d use white sauce for too many things, but pak choi and white sauce go together very well. Stir fry with other vegetables is also a good idea.
- Rinse the pieces and make sure no dirt is left. Normally, there won’t be too much dirt on the plants, because they grow just above the ground, but if you had some days of heavy rain, mud droplets can be stuck on the leaves.
- We’ll blanch the pak choi, because it preserves the vegetables and fixes the colour. First, put a large pot on the stove and boil water.
- You’ll also have to prepare ice cold water in a bowl or in your sink. Do this when the water on the stove is almost boiling, so the water doesn’t get a chance to get to room temperature. You use the coldest water from your tap and add icecubes, coldpacks, or icepacks. I prefer coldpacks. They are reusable and flexible, easy to stack in your freezer and they refreeze super fast!
- Once the water is boiling, add the pak choi pieces for 30 to 40 seconds. I’d recommend to go for 30 rather than 40 seconds, because once you defrost, you’ll have to cook it again and if you boil it too long now, it may get mushy later.
- Take out the pak choi pieces and put them immediately in the ice cold water. Let it cool. If necessary, add some more cold water from the tap or add more icecubes.
- Drain with a colander and put everything on a towel to dry. Gently take off any excess water.
- Prepare some freezer bags (or pots) and write on the date and the content. Do this before filling the bags, it is way easier.
- Fill your bags and close them. Don’t fill them too much and also try to push out as much air as possible before closing the bags completely. You can do this by not closing the bag completely, gently pushing out the air and once it is quite flat, closing the final part. Or you can use a vacuum machine. To get a clear image on how to close the bags, watch my video on fennel!
- Now you can put the pak choi in the freezer!
It’s easy to freeze fresh vegetables!
You see, it is very easy to prepare the pak choi for the freezer.
With these steps, you can be sure your pak choi will be well preserved for a few months. Blanching really helps to keep the pak choi in a good state. But don’t forget that once your pak choi is frozen, you cannot get the original crunchiness back. In that way, it resembles fennel. For crispy pak choi, the only way is to go fresh!
Please, let me know in the comments if you also froze some pak choi this year! I’m also curious, how do you prepare pak choi? How is pak choi called in your language? In Dutch we say, paksoi. Are you in team Bok choy or team Pak choi?
Don’t forget to read my other blogposts on freezing vegetables!