Bok Choy (Brassicaceae) is one of the most popular vegetables in the world. It’s a member of cabbage family and it grows wild in many parts of the world including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. The name “bok” means “water chestnut” or “chestnut tree”.
The plant belongs to the brassica family which includes broccoli, cauliflower and kale among others. It’s native range extends from Europe to South America.
It was cultivated in China since ancient times and was introduced into other countries such as Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia during the past century. Today it is grown commercially in Asia and Africa.
In fact, the Chinese word for bok choy – 丘菜 (“chǎo jiàn”) literally means “water chestnut”. It comes from the Japanese word kurobuta (黒毛), which means “Japanese chestnut”.
How To Grow Bok Choy?
Growing bok choy is easy and requires little attention. There are two ways to grow bok choy: indoor and outdoor. If you want to grow bok choy indoors, then you need to have a greenhouse or some sort of structure where you keep your plants. It needs a lot of light so make sure that you place them in a sunny area. It can handle cold weathers but it doesn’t like frost so some sort of heating might be necessary unless you live in a tropical or subtropical climate. Be careful not to over water your plants as this can cause them to rot.
If you want to grow bok choy outdoors, then the best time to do it is at the start of spring and late summer. Soil should be fertile, well drained and rich in organic matter.
It is also important to choose the right variety of bok choy to grow as there are early, mid and late varieties. The best time to harvest bok choy is after the bottom leaves have dried up and fallen off. Avoid planting or harvesting bok choy if the soil is wet as this can cause it to rot.
If you want to have organic bok choy, then you can use organic fertilizers such as manure or compost. Once planted, make sure to rotate your crops as this will avoid disease and improve the soil’s fertility.
Also, remember to keep your plants well weeded to avoid pest and diseases.
Regrow Bok Choy From Stem?
Did you know that bok choy can actually regrow itself from its own stem?
Now you can grow bok choy plant by simply placing a piece of it in some soil. This is an interesting alternative if you want to grow bok choy without having to buy or plant it.
Choose a healthy bok choy plant and cut off the piece of the stem that is closest to the root. Place this stem in a glass of water so that only the bottom is touching the water.
Make sure the water doesn’t reach above the middle of the stem as if it does, it might cause rot. Place this glass in a sunny area but make sure to protect it from too much direct sunlight. Keep changing the water every couple of days and in about a week, small roots should start appearing at the bottom of the stem. Once you see small roots, you can transfer this piece into soil and keep it just like a regular plant.
Bok Choy Nutrition Facts
Bok choy is a rich source of vitamin A, C and folic acid. 100 g of bok choy provides 17% of your daily needs of vitamin C, 15% of vitamin A, and 10% of folic acid.
It is also a good source of calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium and manganese.
Bok choy has a lot of health benefits. It is believed to enhance immunity and prevent cancer.
It is also known to protect against asthma, support heart health, reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics and promote digestion. It is a very good source of antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body.
Bok Choy Side Effects and Caution
Bok choy is safe for most adults but there are some cases where it should be consumed moderately or even avoided.
Pregnancy: Consuming bok choy increases the risk of premature birth. Pregnant women are advised to stay away from bok choy.
Breastfeeding: Like most cruciferous vegetables, bok choy contains a chemical called goitrin that reduces the thyroid hormone in the body. This might interfere with breastfeeding and is best avoided during this time.
Allergy: People who have allergy to cole crops such as cabbage, broccoli or kale might also be allergic to bok choy. In some cases, people who are not allergic to those food may also experience an allergic reaction to bok choy.
If you have a known allergy to cole crops, it is best to avoid bok choy as well.
In some cases, there are mild side effects such as diarrhea or stomachache due to the goitrogenic properties of bok choy. In such cases, simply reducing the amount of bok choy consumed can solve this issue.
Bok choy can be cooked in a variety of ways. It can be eaten raw in salads or even made into juices.
It can also be stir-fried, boiled, baked or even added to soup. No matter how you eat it, this vegetable is rich in nutrients and offers many health benefits. It is important however to consume it in moderation just like any other food to avoid any negative side effects.
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