I don’t think we’ve ever featured Pak Choi on Frosty Garden before. So, it’s time for us to change that!
You might be more familiar with the other name for this plant, Bok Choy, and they are exactly the same plant. Pac Choi is more commonly used across the pond in places like Britain, whereas Bok Choy is decidedly more American. It also has other names, such as white cabbage, white celery mustard and pe-tsai.
A member of the cabbage family, Pac Choi found its roots in Asian regions where it grows natively. Being a brassica, it’s an excellent choice for cold climate gardens and will produce exceptionally well in the early cool northern summers. It has a time limit, though, as it will flower in the heat of summer and usually the season is done by early July.
Given that it’s a super fast grower and prefers cool climates, Pac Choi is also an excellent candidate for a late season sow and taking them into our first frosts. Typically, you can expect 45-60 days to full maturity, so sowing them 3 to 4 weeks prior to first frost is ideal. Harvest them prior to the hard frosts and you’ll have some late season greens to work with!
A flexible veggie in the kitchen, it’s a favorite in stir fry, ramen, curries, soups, stews and many other dishes. It can also be prepared as a side dish with simple additions like garlic, lemon, chives, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Beyond stir fry, they can be steamed and even grilled. Be sure not to over-cook them as they’ll lose their flavor and lovely crispness. They can also be fermented with common preparations being pickles, kimchi and even sauerkraut.
If you like nice, crisp and healthy greens, Pac Choi should be on your list of excellent cold climate crops for your garden!